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Racers ready for big London derby

Haringey captain Lee Mercer, with team owner David Richards in support (pic: Sam Park) Haringey captain Lee Mercer, with team owner David Richards in support (pic: Sam Park)

Sam Park
Thursday, March 13, 2014
9:00 AM

Haringey play host to Lee Valley Lions

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Romanas Fedotovas goes on a surging run toward goal for Lee Valley Lions (pic: Grout Photography)Romanas Fedotovas goes on a surging run toward goal for Lee Valley Lions (pic: Grout Photography)

The CVS Haringey Racers take on the Lee Valley Lions in the last London derby of the season at Alexandra Palace on Saturday – and both teams are out to claim bragging rights.

Racers are favourites on paper, currently sitting third in the table and having beaten the ninth-placed Lions 7-3 back in January.

But the Lions are enjoying their best campaign for years and have produced some shock results against the league’s top teams already this season.

Haringey captain Lee Mercer knows well that Lee Valley can be a difficult opponent, saying: “Any derby is always a tough and tense affair. Lee Valley are a better team than they were last year and they have even improved as a team since the last time we played them.

“Our motivation for this game is trying to finish as high in the league as possible, keeping our form high ahead of a crucial cup match, but most importantly earning the bragging rights by beating them twice this season.”

Mercer made special mention of former Romford Fury team-mate Romanas Fedotovas too, acknowledging that he could cause the Racers problems.

He added: “They have some very good players and some dangerous players, especially Vas.

“He is a great, great player who I admire and respect very much and he can be a real handful all over the ice.”

Hard-hitting Lithuanian Fedotovas is the Lions’ top points scorer with 16 goals and 13 assists in 18 games.

And he feels his side still have something to play for, saying: “We have struggled this season but also improved and although the idea of winning anything this season is over for us we are now looking to play positively ahead of next year.

“A lot of our guys have pledged to come back next season, so our preparation for the new campaign has already started.”

Fedotovas also believes that the Lions have produced their best displays against stronger teams and will be up for challenge.

He added: “We have always played better against the better teams and it’s a derby, so we’re not going to let them walk away with an easy win.

“We’ll be fighting every inch. We will have a game plan, which we’ll be sticking to, we’ll keep our discipline and we’re confident.

“We have been looking forward to this one and we have a full squad ready to fight for every puck. It’s our last game of the season too so we don’t need to hold anything back.”

The action gets underway at 5.30pm and Mercer will be welcoming some special guests, as a group from the Action for Kids charity will be joining the Captain’s Crew.

He added: “I’m so glad that some great young people are coming to watch the game on Saturday and will get to meet the players too.

“I hope they enjoy it and have a really fun day out.”

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