BLACKBURN Hawks coach Dan MacKriel has told his players not to take their eyes off today's trip to Sheffield Spartans with another top-of-the-table duel with Whitley to come on Sunday.

The Hawks are over in Yorkshire today (3.45pm face-off) before welcoming the Warriors, the only side to beat Blackburn this season, on Sunday (5.45pm).

After losing at Whitley in early December the Hawks have responded well and have regained top spot in the Moralee Conference, stretching their advantage over their north east rivals to five points.

And they started 2016 with a bang last weekend, coming from behind to beat Sutton Sting 13-1 at the Blackburn Ice Arena.

"We were a bit sluggish to start with but I think that was to be expected as we hadn't practised for two weeks," said MacKriel.

"Then we started to find our rhythm and we took our chances really well.

"Defensively we were quite solid, which was pleasing. It was a good performance overall.

"Everything clicked in attack. It took us a while to get going but once we found our groove it was one of those days. It was a good all round performance.

"We had defence chipping in with goals and assists and forwards scoring as well. It wasn't a bad way to start the new year."

The Hawks have now scored 119 goals in 18 league games this season, 41 more than the Warriors have managed in the same number of games.

And last weekend it was Finnish defenceman Kim Miettinen who chipped in with a hat-trick.

"It's very pleasing to see goals from all areas," said MacKriel. "Ultimately I want the defence to be firm at the back but they contributed really well to the goals.

"Kim got a hat-trick, he took his chances really well. There was some really pleasing displays from the whole team."

Attention now turns to the first double header of the year, and MacKriel knows his players need to take the Spartans threat seriously.

"We can't underestimated Sheffield, they haven't had the best of seasons so far but on their day they're as good as anybody in the league, they're very well coached with some great individual talent," he said.

"We can't just focus on the Sunday game. Sheffield can beat anybody in the league with the roster they've got and how well drilled they are.

"It's a tough one, it's a big playing surface, so we have to be on our game for 60 minutes on Saturday and 60 minutes on Sunday.

"It's a good chance to extend our lead. There's a lot of hard work to be done.

"We are capable when we have the right mindset and when players are firing on all cylinders we're more than capable of doing that. It's making sure we're focused across the three periods. That's what we'll be drilling into the players."