We must treat it like any other game says Raiders netminder Gray

Michael Gray in action for Raiders against Basingstoke Bison (Pic: John Scott)

Michael Gray in action for Raiders against Basingstoke Bison (Pic: John Scott) - Credit: Archant

Everyone Active Raiders netminder Michael Gray says they must prepare the same way despite coming up against two unknown teams this weekend, writes Jacob Ranson.

Raiders will welcome Telford Tigers to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Saturday (5.15pm), before travelling north to take on the Sheffield Steeldogs the following night.

It has been a number of years since they last played against such teams due to playing in Nationa; League Division One South but the summer restructure means they will now come up against northern teams including Tigers, Steeldogs, Hull Pirates and newly-formed Leeds Chiefs.

"It's been a long time now for the Raiders since playing the northern teams but we've got to treat it like any other game really," said Gray.

"It doesn't matter who you're playing, you have to have the same mindset of wanting to win whoever you play."

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The 30-year-old admitted it will be exciting to come up against some new teams and new players across the weekend.

The shot-stopper is also hoping they can form some new rivalries with their physical style of play.

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"It's always exciting coming up against new teams and surely with the way Raiders are playing this year, I'm sure a few games will get very heated and create new rivalries," he added.

Gray thinks it is key for them to continue performing at home after picking up a 7-1 win over Bracknell Bees in pre-season and an 8-3 victory on Basingstoke Bison in their home opener.

"Our home form is key to our success this year as everyone is going to beat each other, but if you can be consistent at home it will put you in a much better position," he said.

"Our home form isn't looking too bad at the minute with all the goals we've been scoring."

Gray knows they need to improve on their away form after losing 5-4 to the Bees in pre-season and 9-6 to Swindon Wildcats in their first match of the new National League.

But he is however confident this new-look Raiders squad can buck the trend of struggling to play on big ice pads, adding: "The Raiders have struggled with big ice pads in the past but with the group of players we have this year and with the systems we have in place I cannot see it being a problem at all."

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