London Raiders ‘must be ready to battle’
PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 January 2017
Defenceman Smith issues warning for Chelmsford and Bracknell clashes
London Raiders defenceman Julian Smith says his side need to be ready to battle against top and bottom in the National League this weekend.
Raiders welcome leaders Chelmsford to Lee Valley tomorrow (Saturday, 5.30pm), before travelling to basement boys Bracknell on Sunday.
And although they began 2017 with back-to-back wins over Solent last weekend, Smith knows there is no room for complacency this season.
He said: “Any team is there for the taking this year. You can’t have a night off.
“We’ve beaten Chelmsford twice before this season but we need the right mind-set and we need to play the right way.
“Chelmsford dropped three points last weekend and will be bloodthirsty on Saturday, looking to prove they’re still the top dogs. It will be a battle.”
The Chieftains lost their unbeaten record to Invicta last weekend, falling to an 8-6 home defeat before drawing 3-3 with the Dynamos the following night.
Bracknell, meanwhile, held Oxford to a 3-3 draw and went close to another point at Milton Keynes, suffering a 2-1 loss.
But the Hornets include a familiar face in former Raiders import Michael Oravec and Smith added: “Bracknell have brought in Oravec, who is a talented forward and has had a big impact, and we’ve got to go there with the right attitude.
“We’re in third place and the hard part is staying there.”
Raiders have made team changes of their own in recent weeks, bringing in Brandon Miles from Bracknell before Christmas and tempting Alan Lack and Andy Munroe back to the club last weekend.
Forward Lack, 24, helped Raiders reach the play-offs in 2014/15, while experienced 34-year-old defenceman Munroe had a spell with the club when it was based in Romford in 2009/10, before moving on to Slough, Bracknell and Billingham.
Smith said: “Brandon is a good addition. He’s a tough player with a good shot and has settled in well and we’re excited to have him on the team.
“‘Lacky’ is hard-working, gritty, not afraid to play the body or have a tear-up. He is just what we needed and his first two games were outstanding.
“He set up two goals on Saturday and was unbelievable on Sunday, hitting everything.
“‘Kinger’ (Euan King) and ‘Munzy’ are good friends and I knew he was available, but it was a case of whether it would come off or not.
“He played in the EPL with Peterborough Phantoms with myself and is a rock at the back. Defensively, after losing Ross (Connolly, back home to Scotland) and JC (John Connolly, to injury), he is just what we needed and plays the puck and body well.”