SLOUGH Jets head coach Craig Moran says it is time to get tough with his side in one last attempt to secure a place in the end-of-season play-offs.

Jets suffered consecutive defeats against Sheffield Steeldogs and Basingstoke Bison last weekend, leaving them ninth in the English Premier Ice Hockey League.

With just five weeks of the regular season remaining, Moran is confident Slough have the right attitude for the play-off race.

However, he has raised concerns over their levels of fatigue and admits missing out on a top-eight finish will be tough to take.

Speaking to the Observer, he lamented: “Players who are young and tired switch off thinking they can’t do it. They are not used to this amount of hockey before, let alone at this level.

“It’s something they have not learnt in their careers, and the problem is we’re not a professional team.

“We’re semi-pro and do not train four or five days a week, so we only have limited time on the ice with a lot to work on.

“I have spoken to a few senior players who think it’s time to start getting tough with the youngsters.

“If they are making mistakes now we have to tell them that, but I cannot fault their effort because they’re still trying their best.” Moran added: “Realistically, there is still a slim chance that we can reach the play-offs, you can’t ever rule it out.

“It’s about confidence and pulling together. We have to win at least four of the last 10 and just hope Bracknell don’t win any more games.

“It will be tough but it’s definitely achievable. Anything can happen at this stage of the season and I hope it does for Slough.

“We have not walked away, we’ve always given 100 per cent week in, week out.

“Just making the play-offs will be a massive experience for our guys. but having to look on is not a nice feeling, certainly not for the owners who have backed the team 100 per cent, they understand what has happened.

“Unless you’ve been in this situation before it will be mentally hard for the players, but it’s also a learning curve.” Jets were outfought 7-3 by Sheffield at The Hangar on Saturday and Moran admits his side missed talisman Ales Padelek.

“Ales is a massive loss to us as he’s one of our top players. With guys like him out injured, it makes games that much harder.

“It was a physical match and I now feel we are starting to look drained and tired. In the third period people appeared jaded.

“We didn’t stick to the systems we were going to play and have loads to work on in training with no easy games now.” A miserable weekend for the Hangar club continued with a 7-2 defeat at Basingstoke on Sunday, where Moran accepted the gulf in class.

He bemoaned: “We did not play but Bison are a good team on paper and I’d be surprised if they don’t win a couple of titles this year.

“We had a lot of good players in previous regimes but people move on. If some of that talent was still in the squad we’d be a much better team.” Slough now face a crucial weekend in the race for the play-offs when Guildford Flames visit The Hangar tomorrow (Saturday, 6.30pm), followed by a trip to Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday (5.30pm).

Moran warned: “A couple of Guildford’s import players are out injured, possibly for the rest of the season, but with a total of six they will not be shorthanded on the bench.

“It’s another team that could also be winning trophies at the end of the year. They are definitely a play-off championship side.

“It will be the tougher of the two games but luck is not with Guildford at the moment.” He added: “Peterborough is definitely a must-win game for us. We cannot afford for them to beat us and start creeping up the table.

“They are in the same situation as us by not winning games recently, but they’ve still got a good team.” **PICK up a copy of the Observer, out now, for all the latest sports news and action** **FOLLOW the Observer on Twitter at @Observer_sports**