BLACKBURN Hawks are back in double header action this weekend and player-coach James Neil is looking for a marked improvement against Nottingham Lions on Sunday.

While the Hawks have a difficult trip to second-placed Solway Sharks today, he is aiming to tame the Lions on home soil 24 hours later.

Neil’s side have a 100 per cent win record over the bottom-of-the-table Lions, but it is the manner of the victories that has left him frustrated.

In their three previous league encounters, the Hawks have secured 7-3, 7-4 and 6-3 victories – but on each occasion they have had to bounce back from going two goals down. The pair met last weekend where the Lions, without a win all season, had a two-goal cushion inside four minutes which proved to be the tipping point for Neil.

“I called a time out and gave the players a few home truths,” admitted Neil. “There was barely four minutes on the clock and I am having to call a time out. I wasn’t happy.”

Neil understands that the Lions see the Hawks, who are one place above them in the league, as a chance to break their duck but the player-coach does not want to be the first team to lose against them. And with it being his hometown club, there is personal pride at stake as well.

“They always raise their game against us and rightly so,” added Neil. “They see where we are in the league and think this is their chance.

“They fly out of the blocks and grab a few goals but thankfully we have managed to recover on each occasion.

“I have told the players we are not a side who can afford to take things for granted and assume we are going to win.

“I want to see a big improvement against them this weekend, take control of the game and win more comfortably.

“I’m from Nottingham so I don’t really want to be losing to them!”

Regarding the trip to Dumfries to take on Solway today, Neil says the pressure is off his side.

“It’s a tough place to go as their rink is a different set-up to ours,” he said. “But there is no pressure on us to win so it is a bit of a free hit in the respect.”

Hawks will once again have a short bench this weekend due to injuries and suspensions.

“It’s been tough,” added Neil. “Last weekend we had 11 players, that is the minimum you can get away with.”