Archer con­vinced he can hit the bulls­eye with Phan­toms

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - World Of Sport - By Mark Plum­mer ICE HOCKEY COR­RE­SPON­DENT

James Archer be­lieves he has cho­sen the per­fect time to re­turn to his hockey home away from home. The pro­lific for­ward is Phan­toms’ flag­ship Bri­tish sign­ing ahead of the new English Pre­mier League sea­son.

Archer (28) re­turns to the club which handed him his first taste of se­nior ac­tion more than 12 years ago.

He made his first EPL ap­pear­ance in the 2003-04 sea­son be­fore go­ing on to en­joy three full cam­paigns with Phan­toms.

Spells at home­town side Sh­effield Scim­i­tars (the pre­de­ces­sors to the cur­rent Steel­dogs) and Mil­ton Keynes fol­lowed ahead of a six-stay at Manch­ester which in­cluded three ma­jor hon­ours.

But Archer now feels the time is right for a new chal­lenge back where it all be­gan.

He said: “I had six great years in Manch­ester and was for­tu­nate enough to win the league ti­tle a cou­ple of times and the play-offs there.

“But I felt it was time for a change and there is no place like home and that is what Pe- ter­bor­ough is for me af­ter I started my ca­reer here.

“It’s a new chal­lenge and one I’m re­ally rel­ish­ing. I played with Slava in Manch­ester so I know how he op­er­ates and what he ex­pects of his play­ers.

“He wants me to play the body, do the dirty part of the game and put the puck in the net if at all pos­si­ble.

“I have some good mem­o­ries from­my­timeatPeter­bor- ough­inthep­a­s­tand­hope­fully I will make a few more now.

“Phan­tomshave­been­back win­ning and chal­leng­ing for tro­phies in the last cou­ple of years and hope­fully we can carry that on.

“There is no doubt in my mind the club is on the up again, and we’re here to com­pete.

“We’ll start the­sea­son­with the same ul­ti­mate goal as ev­ery other team and that’s win­ning the league.

“We­need­to­takething­sone step at atime. Thereisalso the EPL Cup to take into con­sid­er­a­tion with re­sults count­ing to­wards that com­pe­ti­tion in the open­ing­part of the sea­son as well.”

Archer has ex­ceeded a half-cen­tury of points in four dif­fer­ent EPL sea­sons and he goes into the new cam­paign feel­ing sharp af­ter a sum­mer spent play­ing the game in the South­ern Hemi­sphere.

He scored 30 points ( 11 goals and 19 points) in 14 games­fortheCan­ter­buryRed Devils dur­ing a three-month stay in New Zealand.

“The stan­dard of hockey is not up­tothat of the EPL,” con­tin­uedArcher.“Bu­ti­tisjust an amateur game out there.

“One­ofmy­oldteam-mates, Dean Tonks, is based in New Zealand now and gave me the chance to go over there.

“It was tough be­ing away from my fam­ily for a long pe­riod of time, bu­tal­soa­good­ex­pe­ri­ence to work and play in an­other coun­try.”

James Archer in ac­tion for Phan­toms against MK Light­ning.

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