Blackburn HAWKS are on the cup trail today as they look to book their place in the two-legged Northern Cup final – but they will have table topping Solway to contend with.
The Hawks will travel to Dumfries for the end of season playoffs next month, but before then comes a cup tie with Solway Sharks (7.30pm) with a place in the final on offer to the winners.
Jared Owen’s side will qualify with a draw at the home of the league winners, but the Hawks coach is insisting his side will go looking for the win when they travel north of the border.
“We’ve got to go there as if we need a win,” he said. “I think whenever you try and set out not to lose a game inevitably you do so we will be going there and playing on the front foot for the victory.
“We know that a draw is enough for us but we cannot let that affect our thinking heading into the match.”
And Owen believes the clash also represents a chance to lay down a marker ahead of a possible play-off final with Solway next month.
The Hawks face Billingham in the last four with, the chance to meet Solway in the final, and with those matches taking place at the Sharks’ home ice in Dumfries, Owen believes a victory tomorrow could be crucial.
He added: “They have an advantage with the play-offs being on their ice so if we can go there and get the win then it shows them that we are good enough to go and do it again.
“We know that if we win our last five games then we will end the season with two trophies and that is a great incentive for us.”
The Hawks will once again be missing a number of key players for the trip with Canadian import Jon Adams and Reece Cairney-Witter both serving their last games of suspensions and Craig Rogers ruled out through injury. Daniel MacKriel is also absent.
The team return to Blackburn Arena on Sunday when they play a challenge game at home to the Royal Navy Kings team (5.45pm).
“That game gives us a chance to go through a few things ahead of the cup final if we get there. If we don’t get there then it is a long break until the play-offs so it will give us a game,” added Owen.
“We will hopefully have a few of the lads coming into the side from Blackburn Eagles as well to see how they get on.
“It is also a chance for the fans to come and watch us as well and hopefully there will be a good crowd.”