BLACKBURN Hawks have had to delve in to their junior side in recent weeks due to injuries to some of their first team players.

Manager James Neil felt it would be better to give some younger players the chance to make a mark on the first team.

Neil highlighted how the adult hockey game is a lot different to the junior matches, the physicality goes up a level.

Ronnie Grimes and Jack Murray came in to the side against Nottingham Lions and Grimes scored as the Hawks won 7-1.

"We've had injuries all season and we've been going to games with really depleted squad numbers," said Neil.

"Doing this gives your opponent a massive advantage as we aren't able to use subs often throughout the game.

"The changes we make are with players who haven't had much of a rest, so they're getting fatigued faster than the other team.

"I had a chat with some of the more experienced players and decided to take a look at the junior side to see if we could potentially use a couple of their players to help us out.

"The whole point of the junior set up is for the players to progress up to the senior side, and for us to be able to use them when we need to."

Blackburn's boss wanted to give the junior players the chance to become a permanent fixture in the senior set up.

"The young lads should look at this as an opportunity to always be in my thoughts when I'm picking the side," added Neil.

"If they get their chance and play well then there's nothing stopping them being picked for the squad again.

"That's how you make yourself a regular in the first team. I've told them I don't expect them to be winning us games every week.

"The aim is for them to go out an enjoy themselves, but also to show us what they can do."

Making the step up to the senior side is a tough ask because the game is a lot more physical than what the youngsters are used to.

"The physicality of the game goes up a new level. It's a lot for them to get to grips with at first," said Neil.

"This is something we have to consider when picking who we include in the squad.

"Some players could possibly shy away from playing in the seniors as they've seen the sort of challenges it comes with.

"There's two games most weekends, it also includes lots of travelling and also some late nights.

"You've got to be fully committed and these young lads seem to be just that."

Grimes came in to the side against Nottingham and added to the scoresheet, with Murray playing and contributing with a good performance.

"They both did really well, it was promising to see. The senior players said themselves how well they did," added Neil.

"It was good to have the options from the bench as well, rotating your side is important in ice hockey.

"You want your players to be as fresh as possible because it gives you a better chance of winning.

"Ronnie and Jack can be looked at as an example for the other junior players with the way they've come in to the side."