TONY MILTON believes that survival is on the agenda at Slough Jets ahead of their long-awaited return to the ice this Sunday.

The Jets have not been seen in public since December 3 and head coach Milton admits their will be some rust to shake off at London Haringey Racers (5.30pm).

“We have been away for two months and although we’ve had a couple of training sessions with other teams and helpful coaches it has been nowhere near as much as we would like,” he told the Observer.

“We’ve looked forward to getting going again but it is absolutely going to be a tough first few games in the league, and it’s going to take a little time to get back up to match fitness.

“Haringey are a good team, quite physical, and they like to intimidate. It’s going to be a tough game and there’s usually a few penalty minutes when we play. For our own sake, I hope it’s not too physical because we will end up with players getting banned.”

The Jets’ absence is due to the closure of the Slough Ice Arena for refurbishment plus delays to the presence of a temporary rink.

Slough return to action bottom of the table but with games in hand and Milton insists the club can be desirable once more, if they can maintain their status in the league.

“It’s about survival in the league and living to fight another day,” he explained. “We knew the closure of the ice was coming this season so it’s about club survival – keeping the senior side and all the junior teams going.

“This season is really about survival and doing our best to compete in the league. Hopefully then the club will be more desirable next season when we have better continuity.

“Players tell us now why should we come and sign when we know the ice is closing, but when it reopens the club will be in a brand new, refurbished complex.

“When we get the main rink back open we should be more desirable and players will want to come to us.”

Milton added: “We know other facilities are due for refurbishment so rinks will be prepared for closure.

“The players know this and understand the situation, and we’ve actually signed a couple of new players over this period.”

Slough Jets are due to play their first match in temporary rink against Wightlink Raiders on Saturday, February 4 (6.30pm).

Milton said: “The league has very kindly re-scheduled our season and been patient with us. We can start to fulfil our side in the next couple of weeks when we get the temporary ice.

“We've got our first home game on February 4 which we're hoping to fulfil. We're hopeful and after we get the ice it will be all guns blazing."

Commenting on the construction of the temporary rink, he added: “Obviously they're open to the elements and want people to deliver the goods on time.

“We would like the game to go ahead but if not we will just have to postpone this next one. We've been in touch with the league and they've been very sympathetic. We will just have to postpone the game.

“It's out of our hands so we will just go with the flow and be patient. There's no point getting up yelling and shouting.

“ just got to deal with the situation because we know there is light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to be patient."