Harrogate hockey coach Gary Nash believes that the pressure is all on Lincoln Roses ahead of this weekend’s top-of-the-table clash at Granby (1.30pm push back).
The North Division Two East leaders saw the gap at the summit cut to five points after a late goal sent them to a 4-3 defeat away at Sheffield Bankers, while their nearest challengers hammered basement boys Leeds Adel Carnegie 10-0.
The contest is one which Lincoln must win if they are to stand a chance of catching Harrogate, and they will take confidence from their shock 7-1 victory earlier on in the season.
“Lincoln at home was always going to be a massive game,” said Nash.
“It is a game we can afford to draw but really want to win as it will ensure the league title.
“We will have to play a really tight game unlike our usual expansive style but if we achieve that and defend our goal well we will definitely score at the other end.
“I am really looking forward to the battle as a coach, and the players likewise will be embracing the challenge rather than fearing it.”
Harrogate are boosted by the return of Stuart Norman, David Swarbrick and Nick Wilcock but will be without suspended captain Peter Shipston.
Last weekend ‘Gate were left to rue a number of missed chances and defensive errors as they slipped to defeat against Sheffield Bankers.
Harrogate took an early lead through Charles Edmondson but their hosts hit back within two minutes as both sides tried to gain a foothold in the match.
With the score tied 2-2 at the break, Bankers then took the lead five minutes into the second period.
And despite Harrogate hitting back and then putting the Sheffield side under late pressure, were undone by a clinical counter attack.
“Last Saturday was a very disappointing day but we have to put it in context and we are still playing really well, creating lots of chances and are top of the league by five points,” said Nash.
“We have things to work on and tighten up in training, especially ahead of Lincoln this weekend.”