UNDERESTIMATE us at your peril.

Those are the words of bullish Blackburn Hawks coach James Neil as he tries to seal a place in the Midland Cup final.

The Hawks face Sutton Sting in a two-legged semi final this weekend – at Blackburn Arena today (6pm face off) before travelling to Sheffield for the return leg on Sunday.

While Sutton have the better head-to-head this season – winning three of the four league and cup clashes – Neil says that will count for nothing when a place in the final is up for grabs.

The Hawks have saved their best performances for the Midland Cup this season and points to the 6-4 win over Solihull Barons in their last group game to underline what they are capable of.

“It may have been a dead rubber but Solihull topped the table for a reason and we went and beat them and played very well,” said the Nottingham-born player/coach. “We are delighted to have reached the semi-finals but we don’t want it to end there and have set our sights on reaching the final.”

Sutton won both games in the group stages of the cup (7-3 and 6-5) and came out on top in the last league meeting just before Christmas, winning 5-2.

The Hawks’ only win was back in November, winning 4-3 at the Arena.

While Neil admits Sutton go in to the semi-final as favourites, he says that means his side can play with a bit more freedom.

“There is no pressure on us, all the pressure is on Sutton,” added Neil. “They are rightly favourites going in to the weekend but that is the way we would like it.

“They have had the better of our meetings this season but they were all very close games, a couple of them decided by a single goal.”

Neil says his young side are learning and improving all the time and he says that blend of youth and the experience of himself, Aaron Davies and import Petr Valusiak are more than capable of upsetting the odds.

“We are a very young side and we know we can improve as a team, try and play for the full game and not switch off from time to time,” he said. “But if we get it right and play as well as I know we can, we are more than capable of winning this semi-final over two legs.

“We are all looking forward to it and I don’t think the Hawks should be underestimated.”