Home-and-home set will be turning point

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

The next two weeks could become the crossroads for two rival CFL clubs.

The 3-7 Winnipeg Blue Bombers will play the 3-6 Saskatchewan Roughriders in a home-and-home series. And it starts with the Labour Day Classic in Regina on Sunday.

"In the grand scheme of things, it's even more important, given our loss (to Hamilton) last Friday, because we are two points out of a playoff spot, fighting with two other teams," Bombers head coach Jim Daley said yesterday. "So it's vital. Saskatchewan plays us twice, Calgary plays Edmonton twice. It's a very big weekend."

The 4-5 Stamps are just two points up on Winnipeg and Saskatchewan.

"These next two games are really going to tell what the season's going to be for us," Roughriders head coach Danny Barrett told the Regina Leader-Post. "We need to make sure we line up Sunday and do what we really need to do, or we find ourselves letting the season slip through our hands."

SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: Guard Matt Sheridan (knee) looks like he is ready to play. So do both slotback/kick returner Keith Stokes (shoulder) and slotback Darnell McDonald (hand).

"The only way you can get Darnell and Stokes both on is by taking off a linebacker and right now that's hard to do because Ron Ockimey might be as dominant a special teams player, in terms of coverage, as there is in the league," said Daley, who underscored the importance of Stokes on the return game.

"Special teams will play a major role on Sunday. Keith's returns will be a major factor. Our coverage of their return game will be a major factor. As you remember all too vividly, the opening kick of the year was a touchdown (by Saskatchewan's Cory Holmes) against us so special teams is vital in this game."

HASHMARKS: Although Bombers DL Doug Brown tested his foot at yesterday's practice he did not look like he will be ready to return this weekend ... Daley is also wrestling with whether to sit DB Justin Coleman, who is still being bothered by a sprained foot. If Coleman sits, Brad Franklin would replace him as a starter with recently-arrived DB Jemonte Battle as the dime back ... Although former Bombers OL Garrick Jones was among the NFL cuts, it is unlikely that he will soon return here as Winnipeg already has three import tackles in camp, Bombers GM Brendan Taman indicated ... Oops, DB William Fields is tied for second in the CFL with four picks, not first as related here yesterday.


Videos

Photos