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Raiders coach Easton says they must focus for play-off clashes with Bees

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 March 2019

Raiders head coach Sean Easton (Pic: John Scott)

Raiders head coach Sean Easton (Pic: John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders head coach Sean Easton says his side must focus as they head into the National League Division One play-off quarter-finals this weekend, writes Jacob Ranson.

Raiders forward Brandon Ayliffe puts pressure on Bracknell's netRaiders forward Brandon Ayliffe puts pressure on Bracknell's net

The Raiders will welcome Bracknell Bees to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Saturday (5.15pm), before heading away to the John Nike Leisure Centre the following night.

The two sides met at this stage last season with the Raiders progressing to the semi-finals.

Coach Easton feels it will be an exciting weekend of hockey but is hoping his side limit their mistakes after losing 4-2 to the Bees in their final league match last weekend.

“Every game this year against Bracknell has been exciting and packed of action,” he said.

“We fell short last week only through our own mistakes on the day, nothing needs to change other than limit our mistakes and play for the full 120 minutes.

“I believe the first leg is a must-win by as much as possible.”

The former Chelmsford Chieftains coach is backing his squad to perform and feels they must take confidence from picking up results against the likes of Swindon Wildcats, Peterborough Phantoms and Basingstoke Bison this campaign.

“We can destroy teams and we have done many times against the top teams, but we always have a period in our game that keeps the game closer than it should have been,” he added.

“We need focus and determination throughout the game.”

Raiders will be without Blahoslav Novak who serves the final two matches of his five-game suspension this weekend.

It is expected that defencemen John Connolly and Callum Wells will remain sidelined through injury, while forward Ollie Baldock is also a doubt.

“We have injured players out for the play-offs and Novak suspended, but we have enough to get us through. It’s about buying in and everyone else bringing their best every shift,” added Easton.

“The key for us to succeed is discipline and playing with determination.”

Easton did also reveal he is starting his plans for next season, as well as the play-offs.

“You always have an eye on next season at this stage of the season, how can we be better, who can help make us better,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough league, but it’s a challenge players will relish.”

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