BLACKBURN Hawks travel to Moralee North One leaders Whitley Warriors with a short bench tomorrow but player/coach James Neil admits the main focus is on their double-header Midland Cup final with Solihull Barons the following week.

The Hawks have four key players missing but Neil says as long as he has a full squad to pick from for the final he is a happy man.

“I would rather the lads work their weekend shifts this weekend rather than next weekend,” he said. “It can’t be helped but our main priority is the cup final the following week.

“We still have a chance of getting in to the play-offs at the end of the season but we have to prioritise and there is silverware up for grabs next week so that is our main aim.

All-time leading scorer Aaron Davies , Joe Greaves and Corey Lee miss the game due to personal commitments while Jared Dickinson is injured.

It may mean another appearance for young GB netminder Harrison Walker as an outskater – as he did against Nottingham Lions last week.

“The three players who have commitments will be back for the final but Jared is injured so we will have to wait and see how he goes,” added Neil. “Harrison had to play as an outskater for us but I don’t think he minded too much. He is a talented player and I think he enjoyed his time out on the ice.”

Hawks remain in sixth place in the league after last weekend’s 7-4 win over the rock bottom Lions who have not won a game all season.

Despite going 2-0 down, Neil was happy with the way his players responded and admitted he may adopt the Lions’ approach to the game when they travel to Whitley.

“The Lions make the game scrappy but we knew it would be like that before we got on the ice,” he said. “They had a few chances and took them. It wasn’t great going 2-0 but I was glad we got goals early in the second period to take control of the game.”

He added: “Whitley is not a great place to go and their arena isn’t the best for ice hockey but they use it to their advantage.

“We may we adopt the Lions’ way of playing and make it scrappy for them, frustrate them and see what we can do.

“Going with a short bench means those players who don’t normally get a lot of time on the ice will certainly get their time on Sunday.”