London Raiders 'looking good'
PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 November 2016
Coach Blyth backing squad ahead of break
London Raiders head coach Alan Blyth believes his side are finding their feet in the National League, just as they prepare to put them up and rest during a free weekend!
Raiders battled to a 4-4 draw with a much-strengthened Streatham in the cup at Lee Valley last Saturday, before skating to a 4-0 league win over MK Thunder the following night, when Euan King turned aside 22 shots for a shutout on his return to a gold and blue jersey.
And Blyth feels the weekend was a true show of their capabilities this season, saying: “We started off slow, however we are now hitting our stride.
“We have made a couple of personnel changes and that has helped us move forward as a team. We’re not the finished article, but the guys are working hard and improving every week.
“Teams are now dreading playing us rather that looking forward to it and that’s how it should be.
“We have a large number of players carrying knocks and the break definitely come at a good time. We don’t ever like blank weekends, however when you do get one, it’s good for the guys to recharge the batteries.”
Raiders were originally due to visit the Isle of Wight this weekend, but find themselves with a weekend off after their namesakes were forced to pull the plug on team operations following a dispute with rink landlords.
Blyth’s men return to action with a home match against Oxford on November 12, before visiting Solent the next night, and the coach added: “This break gives us an extra couple of weeks to prepare for the following weekend’s games and should therefore should allow us a big couple of performances.
“However when you do have a weekend off it takes the gloss off and takes a period to put it back on again. We will be good to go, that’s for sure.”
The recent additions of King, to compete with Michael Gray for the starting goalie spot, and Slovakian import Slavomir Buda in place of Czech forward Kamil Kinkor certainly appear to have been key in the recent upturn in performances.
And Blyth gave full backing to his new players, adding: “The signing of Slav was a definite upgrade. This is no disrespect to Kinkor, but these two guys are really leagues apart.
“It’s apparent to see the quality he has and the other guys feed off this. His impact has been huge.
“Euan comes with a great deal of experience and professionalism and knows exactly what is needed in this league and knows a lot of the guys in the dressing room.
“He fitted straight in and his performance last Sunday was sublime. He is the perfect role model for the younger guys in the team and it’s no real surprise that he has won so much over his career.”