Lions happy to be at home

B.C Lions quarter back Travis Lulay is surrounded by teammates after running in a touchdown against...

B.C Lions quarter back Travis Lulay is surrounded by teammates after running in a touchdown against the Edmonton Eskimos during their CFL football game in Vancouver, British Columbia, September 30, 2011. The game is the first event in the newly renovated BC Place. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)

Hosea Cheung, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:01 AM ET

VANCOUVER - Although the B.C. Lions will play their biggest game of the season so far this Sunday, they might not have a packed stadium to cheer them on.

At least not at the rate tickets are being sold for the West final showdown against the Edmonton Eskimos at BC Place.

As of Friday, the Lions are closing in on 40,000 stubs sold for the West final. And while the number is admirable, it's still a ways to go from the capacity crowd of about 54,000 — or even the 50,000 that showed up on Sept. 30 for the stadium's re-opening against the Eskimos.

Sellout or not for the big matchup, the Lions expect the atmosphere for the 1:30 p.m. PST game to be an energetic one. Ultimately though, the players are just happy to be at home, rather than enemy territory.

"There's nothing like playing in front of your home fans. There's nothing like playing with momentum on your side, especially the momentum that we've built up," said defensive back Ryan Phillips. "I expect our stadium filled with electrifying fans. Rowdy fans to try to make it hell for Edmonton."

Of note, the Grey Cup game in Vancouver on Nov. 27 has already been sold out.

LESS BRUISED, LESS BATTERED

The Lions head into Sunday's game with a fairly healthy squad, especially on defence.

The unit alone has faced plenty of injuries throughout the season, especially in their secondary. But now, coach Wally Buono will have to make some key decisions on which healthy players will sit out due to roster limitations. Then again, it's a good problem to have.

"The way I look at it is that we have a lot of players, and at the end of the week, you pick 42 players," Buono said. "The last week, we played 42 players that were healthy and one that gives us the best opportunity to win and this week we'll do the same thing."

Clearly, the Lions benefitted from the bye week, allowing several players who missed the final regular season game — namely defensive end Keron Williams (ankle), linebacker Anthony Reddick (shoulder), running back Jamall Lee (ankle) and receiver Akeem Foster (knee) — to rest up. All are expected to be ready Sunday.

 


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