Aberdeen Lynx head coach Owen Reynolds wants his team to show “real character”, starting with their first home game of 2020 this evening.
The Granite City outfit welcome Paisley Pirates, having returned from the winter break in the 5-1 Scottish National League (SNL) defeat at North Ayr Wild last weekend.
Paisley’s visit comes with the Lynx sixth in the table, with five wins and six losses to this point.
Reynolds said: “Looking back over the first half of the season we definitely started strong and there was some optimism.
“But unfortunately we were hit by a series of injuries to key players.
“Although we’ve had some disappointing results and injuries have put a serious dent in our squad, there’s still plenty to play for with play-off positions to be decided and Scottish Cup progress at stake.
“With the league looking closer than it ever has before, we’re going to have to show some real character from here on in.
“We didn’t get the start to 2020 that we hoped for against North Ayr Wild as unfortunately it was another one of those games where we travelled light on numbers.
“With several players at university and back home for the holidays, working offshore or out injured, we only had a handful of senior players supplemented by some of our youngsters, so it was always going to be tough.
“North Ayr took their chances while we didn’t seem to have much luck in front of the net. But ultimately we were out-worked for the majority of the game.”
The Lynx play twice this weekend, with an away Scottish Cup clash tomorrow also in the mix.
Reynolds says his team need to show they can compete in both.
He added: “With Solway Sharks and Murrayfield Racers cementing the top two league positions, we’ve always been aware that the rest of the pack are capable of taking points off each other.
“So the remainder of the season will be a battle for play-off positions.
“For us that starts with a home fixture against Paisley Pirates, traditionally a hard-fought contest.
“We have a few boys returning and the squad is looking stronger than it has for the last few months, so there’s no question that we’ll be going out with the intention to win.
“Points are now vital and Paisley will share this view.
“So we’ll need to be ready to compete for the full 60 minutes in what will be an intense encounter.
“This weekend also sees us in action in the quarter-finals first leg of the Scottish Cup as we head to Dundee on Sunday to face the Comets.
“Much like ourselves they’ve had mixed fortunes but look like they’ve regained some form recently.
“At the end of the day there’s a trophy up for grabs, so we’ll be talking this seriously with Paisley Pirates already awaiting the winner in the semi-final.
“We also still have both home and away league fixtures to play against the Comets, so we need to show that we’re capable of competing with them.”