Resurgent London Blitz ready to unseat Dauphins at Finsbury Park
- Credit: Archant
Assistant coach Michael Callan is confident London Blitz can keep their European hopes alive when they take on Dauphins de Nice this weekend, writes Ben Kosky.
Blitz took a 51-14 battering from another French side, Elancourt Templiers, in their opening International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Champions League game last month.
Now they must beat Nice at Finsbury Park on Saturday to stay alive in the inaugural IFAF competition and maintain their hopes of reaching the final four in July.
Since their defeat in France, Blitz have recorded comfortable back-to-back wins in the domestic league and Callan feels the team are beginning to find their feet.
“When you’re on the road in Europe it can be difficult,” said Callan, who is also the team’s offensive co-ordinator. “That was our first game of the season – which is always a bit jittery – but it was Templiers’ seventh.
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“There were things we could have executed better, but we made some really good plays in the first half and put ourselves in a position to win – then they came out with a bit of muscle and pulled away.
“Coming out of Paris we were a bit down, but in the last two games the offence has been clicking and the defence is limiting the points, so we feel prepared for Saturday.
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“We’ve been watching tapes of Nice and they seem a well-drilled team, with some good attacking players. But we’re always good playing at home and it comes down to having your game plan right.
“If we win that gives us a chance to qualify. We’d still need some other results to go our way but we can’t worry about that – we just have to put ourselves in a position to go through.”
Blitz’s first-choice quarterback Joe Thompson, who was forced off with a knee injury in the Templiers game, is battling to return this weekend and could replace stand-in Timothee Liechti.
“The team doesn’t miss a beat,” added Callan. “Tim’s led us to two wins domestically and you’ve got to have that depth in the team to be successful. I feel the Blitz guys are good at realising that everyone’s got to be ready – it may only take one injury for you to play.”
Saturday’s game at Finsbury Park gets under way at 3pm and tickets – £5 for adults, with free entry for Under-16s accompanied by a paying adult – are available either on the day or online. Visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/london-blitz-vs-les-dauphins-de-nice-tickets-11546414637 for details.