THE Basingstoke Bison face two derby clashes this weekend, as they entertain the Swindon Wildcats on Saturday night, before making the short trip to Bracknell on Sunday.
The Herd suffered a rare home defeat last Saturday against Milton Keynes and will keen to get back to winning ways at the Basingstoke Arena against the Wildcats in a game that has a 6.30pm face-off.
Swindon are one of the most dangerous sides in the league and currently lead the league series over the Herd 2-1.
This is thanks to a win on their last visit to Basingstoke on the opening day of the season. Then, in December, they became the only team this campaign to score seven goals against the Herd, inspired by a hat-trick from top British forward Aaron Nell.
Their powerful offence is something the Herd will have to stop, while also beating their former netminder Stevie Lyle.
Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard was furious with the amount of odd man rushes his side gave up in their loss against MK and said: “We cannot afford to do this against Swindon, as if we give then some grade A chances they are going to punish us with the firepower they have.”
The Herd have injury doubts surrounding forwards Joe Rand and Andy Melachrino.
Rand was forced to sit out half of the superb comeback win at Sheffield last Sunday, while Melachrino missed the whole of the last weekend.
On Sunday night (face-off 6pm), the Bison travel to the Hive looking to defeat a Bees side who enjoyed a 7-3 win over Slough in their last home outing.
This was despite being without import Lukas Smital and top Brits Tony Redmond and Rob Lamey.
Bracknell are right in the thick of the play-off battle and currently hold the eighth and final place.
Sheppard said: “It is a local derby against a team wanting to make the play-offs and will be another tough test for us.”