British forward Ciaran Long joins the Basingstoke Bison

Basingstoke Gazette: Ciaran Long during his last spell with the Basingstoke Bison. Buy this photo » Ciaran Long during his last spell with the Basingstoke Bison.

BASINGSTOKE Bison boss Doug Sheppard has shown his determination to keep the Herd in the silverware shake-up this season by signing top British forward Ciaran Long from the Slough Jets.

The 22-year-old played for the Herd three years ago, and his return will add extra spice to Saturday’s derby-day clash with the Bracknell Bees at the Basingstoke Arena.

Long is Slough’s top British goalscorer this campaign and Bison player/coach Sheppard is delighted to have added him to the Herd squad.

The Bison boss said: “Ciaran is a great pick-up for us. He is a young player with a lot of potential and I am looking forward to coaching him.”

After leaving the Bison in 2011, the 22-year-old moved to the Manchester Phoenix for one-and-a-half seasons, before returning south to suit for the Slough Jets, from where he joins the Herd. He is Slough’s leading British goalscorer this season, with 15 goals to his name from 27 games.

The Herd’s new man Long said: “I have played against the Bison this season and feel my style of play fits in perfectly with them.

“I know some guys in the dressing room from my time at Slough, which will help me settle in quickly.”

Looking ahead to his debut, the 22-year-old added: “I always love local derbies, so I am looking forward to the weekend.”

Long is an ideal replacement for Joe Miller, who plays his final Bison game on January 1, before moving to the Telford Tigers.

The pair will both be in the line-up  for this weekend's double-header against Bracknell, as will defenceman Zach Sullivan and forward Stuart Mogg, who return from international duty.

These games are expected to be feisty affairs, as the Bees have James Galazzi, Scott Spearing and Chris Wiggins all fit to play.

It remains to be seen if Bracknell will sign a new import before the weekend, after Czech forward Kamil Tvrdek was released to cut the wage bill last Sunday.

After splitting last weekend’s road trips, Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard is keen for his side to get back to the way they were playing earlier in the month, as they face local rivals the Bracknell Bees in a double-header weekend.

The first game is in Basingstoke (face-off 6.30pm) on Saturday, with the return at the Hive the following night (face-off 6pm) Sheppard said: “We did not have the best weekend. I want us to getting back to playing Bison hockey as, if we do this, we will get results.”

“We know it is going to be tough as derby games against Bracknell always are, but it would be nice to get a four-point weekend for our fans for Christmas.”

Video courtesy of Adrian Parsons/YouTube.

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