LUKAS SMITAL wants to give his young Slough Jets stars time to develop in National Ice Hockey League South Two this season.

Smital replaced Tony Milton as head coach at Slough back in June and, though he admits the season ahead will be a challenging one, he hopes The Jets will play some entertaining ice hockey.

He told the Observer: “We will do what we can and see what the season brings but it’s going to be a big challenge for us.

“We’re in a different category to other clubs with a rich budget. We’re not able to attract the top players but at the same time it’s good to get people that want to play for the club.

“A few guys have stayed on and there are a few newbies and young ones. I’m going to use a few under-18 players as well because I believe in that. I’m here to develop younger players and help them to grow.

Smital continued: “I don’t do aims and ambitions, just on a game-by-game basis. We’re not playing for the Stanley Cup here and don’t want to put too much pressure on the players in terms of their performance.

“We’re not going out wanting to lose, that’s definitely not the case, but the pressure will come later on in the season. Some players don’t have the experience to properly deal with that pressure yet.”

Slough will play the first three matches this season away from home as their Montem Lane rink continues to undergo redevelopment works, starting with a trip to Bristol Pitbulls this Sunday (6.15pm).

Smital said: “We practised for the last time on Tuesday before we play on Sunday and it felt pretty good. There were a lot of good guys out on the ice and there was a good vibe in the room.

“Sunday will tell us a lot and get the guys to gel.

"I do not know anything about Bristol or the league but have been a professional for 20 years and don't under-estimate anyone. We've got a gameplan and will try to implement it.

"Every game this season will be tough and we're going to have to learn as well.

"We can only worry about what we do and react to the opposition as the games go on.

I believe in hard work and discipline, not lazy hockey, so it will entertain people as well. You will not fall asleep watching us!"

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