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Raiders coach Easton pinned Bees and Bison as crunch games

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 December 2019

Raiders celebrate a goal against Peterborough Phantoms last weekend (Pic: John Scott)

Raiders celebrate a goal against Peterborough Phantoms last weekend (Pic: John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders head coach Sean Easton has called this weekend's matches Bracknell Bees and Basingstoke Bison as 'crunch clashes'.

The Romford-based outfit travel to the John Nike Leisure Centre on Saturday (6.15pm) before returning home to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre to take on the Bison on Sunday (5.15pm).

And Easton's men currently occupy the final play-off spot in the National League in eighth place just behind Bees in seventh, while MK Lightning and Leeds Chiefs sit ninth and tenth.

Eason said: "They're must-win games, four-point games, dress it up however you want, they're crunch games to our play-off hopes.

"Bracknell, Raiders, MK Lightning and Leeds Chiefs are in a mini-league and the top two make the play-offs. Bracknell and MK had a three-point and four-point weekend respectively and are now on the up."

Doug Sheppard's Bees have moved to bring in import forward Dominik Gabaj, Scot Caly Robertson and Josh Ealey-Newman to bolster their options in recent weeks.

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"Bracknell have made changes to their line-up with a new import, and two new Brittish players since we last played them," added Easton.

"Basingstoke at home, well lets just say I can't remember the last time 'Sweet Caroline' was played at Sapphire.

"Last time we played Bison at home we dropped a point from a late comeback before losing in a shoot-out, but regardless of whom we play, we need to make the Sapphire a fortress and start taking maximum points."

The former Chelmsford Chieftains coach and defenceman is eager for his squad to find more consistency as they've shown brief moments of being a really strong side with wins against the likes of table-topping Telford Tigers, Swindon Wildcats and Hull Pirates.

"We have picked up points along the way, but the team is not consistently playing the right way game after game, there is so much potential to do more but attitudes hold us back," he added.

"Not believing that we can be bigger than what we are, not focused on the job in hand all the time. Once the players believe that the team can achieve that will be our turning point.

"If we can put aside personal agendas, become team guys and believe in what's there to take, we can go on a run of results."

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