HEAD coach Doug Sheppard says he is confident Bracknell Bees can fight off the Raiders to reach the play-offs, writes Dave Wright.

The eighth and final spot in the National League is becoming an exciting and nerve-jangling battle with both sides having six games remaining, two of them against each other, the first of them at The Hive this Saturday (6.15pm).

Bees secured their second four-point weekend in recent weeks by defeating Leeds Chiefs 5-1 in Yorkshire and Peterborough Phantoms 7-5 at The Hive.

But the Romford-based Raiders also recorded a double as they followed up their two wins over Bees by twice hammering Hull Pirates.

It leaves Bracknell two points behind their rivals going into the final three weeks of the regular season.

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"It is going to make for an exciting run to the end," said Sheppard.

"The guys had a great weekend with four points.

"For the last month we have been playing really well, picking up points, and with six games left I am confident we can make the play-offs."

He continued: "We have two games against Raiders, who are also playing well, so it's going to be a great game on Saturday.

"A win will put us level with them, the guys know the importance of this game. We are really looking forward to it.

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"Hopefully, we will get a huge crowd here supporting us. We really appreciate the support we are getting."

Bees have two home fixtures this weekend with Sheffield Steeldogs the visitors on Sunday (5.30pm).

"We are just taking one game at a time, but if we keep taking care of our own business, we will be fine. Our goal is another four-point weekend," added Sheppard.

The coach – as well as the fans – will be hoping Dominik Gabaj will continue his red-hot form, having scored 12 goals in the last 10 games.

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Two of them came against Peterborough with the Slovakian also assisting in three other goals.

"He is a very good offensive player. He had another good night, but everyone chipped in and did their part," the coach told the News after the game.

Although he got the award on Sunday, Gabaj has been edged out in the man-of-the-match voting by Adam Goss in recent weeks.

The netminder gave another outstanding performance in the 5-1 win at Leeds, where he stood up to 37 shots from the hosts.

"He has been our best player on the recent run we've had, he has been playing excellently for us," said Sheppard.

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But having seen his side concede three late goals to Peterborough, the coach added: "We could do a little bit more to help him out, especially when we are enjoying a lead.

"We need to take better care of the defensive side of things.

"A lot of times in a two-game play-off, the team with the hottest goalie usually move on, so we are happy with his form at the moment."

Sheppard was forced to take a back-seat on Sunday as he was serving a two-match suspension.

He explained: "Its a league rule, if you get 50 team (penalty) points, the coach gets a two-game ban, but Adrian (Worship) and Bill (Webb) stepped in and did a great job.

"It was an awesome performance to get the win, but we could have seen it out better."

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