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Belfast Giants must not be distracted by the festivities, warns Keefe

By Stuart McKinley

Adam Keefe is determined that the impending arrival of Santa Claus won't derail the Belfast Giants' Elite League title challenge.

And he's been helped by the timing of matches over the Christmas period because, despite a heavy schedule of matches, the holidays won't have any impact on his team's training schedule or rest time.

Tonight's trip to the Edinburgh Capitals is the first of four games in the space of a week for the Giants, who enter the weekend as joint league leaders along with the Cardiff Devils, and then it will be time to switch off before another voyage across the Irish Sea for a game with Braehead Clan on Boxing Day.

The biggest fear for Keefe is that his players could switch off.

"Our biggest enemy could be ourselves," said the Giants coach. "We'll travel back from Edinburgh and then have our usual days off on Sunday and Monday before we play on Tuesday.

"It will be tough with four games in a week and a couple of travel days and not much time to prepare. There is no harm in resting, but when the time comes we have to show up and play."

The key for Keefe as the schedule cranks up is his preparation. He has been studying videos of recent Edinburgh games as he looks to exploit whatever weaknesses he can find. For the players, however, he believes it is about getting their heads right.

"At this stage I think it's more a mental thing in terms of our preparation," said Keefe. "Players can't check out.

"It's hard to look past these next four games, but we have to stay focused on Edinburgh as well as taking the workload into account."

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