Lightning out to beat Baz’s boys

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LIGHTNING will welcome back an old friend this Saturday night when former fans’ favourite Barry Hollyhead returns to Milton Keynes with his Telford Tigers side.

Hollyhead left Lightning last summer after initially calling time on a near 700 game playing career which saw him turn out in Lightning colours for eight seasons – six of them consecutive – as he became one of the club’s most reliable players, noted for his unflappable form in front of goal.

But after a short break from the game, ‘Baz’ has put on his pads once again, signing as injury cover for the team where he began his career, while Declan Ryan recovers from illness.

Another win-lose weekend against Manchester Phoenix keeps Lightning fourth in the English Premier League table ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Telford and a trip to fifth placed Slough Jets on Sunday.

Honours are even between Lightning and basement boys Tigers so far this season, with two wins each from four league meetings – Nick Poole’s side enjoying a nine-goal shutout the last time the sides met at the Thunderdome in early December.

Poole said: “We lost our opening two games with the Tigers this season which was hard to take, but turned things around with two wins and got a shutout in the most recent game against them.

“But that doesn’t mean we can just expect another win on Saturday – there are no easy games in this league, and Telford aren’t in the EPL to make up the numbers.

“Mathematically they can still make the play-offs, so they won’t go down without making life hard. And if Barry is between the pipes for them this weekend, then us knowing his style won’t really help us – because he knows our game too!

Poole added: “Hopefully it won’t be too long until Chris Wiggins is back on the ice to give us our full complement of forwards, and we can push on and try to pick up every possible point and get a good position for the play-offs.

“It’s going to be tough – we still have to play Guildford four more times and Basingstoke three more times – but there are two pieces of silverware up for grabs and there’s no reason why we can’t get at least one of them.”

Lightning face-off against Telford at 7pm on Saturday, and just 24 hours later they make the short journey to Berkshire for the final time this season, taking on Slough Jets at 6.30pm on Sunday.

Lightning have won three of the four league meetings between the two sides this season, with Jets sitting just three points below Lightning in the table.