Cheque book is ready for blue line dominator

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SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ owner Tony Smith is ready to open his cheque book if coach Ryan Finnerty finds a big, aggressive import defenceman.

The club currently have more imports than available team-places so it is unfortunate they are having to consider splashing more cash on overseas talent. But Smith says: “It is not rocket-science to realise we’re a little weak in defence. We could do with a Colt King (power winger) back there. Our goalie (John DeCaro) is not great at holding every shot and stopping every deflection and although I’ve not spoken to Ryan, I am sure he’ll be looking for someone to help him. He certainly has our permission if he wants to start chopping and changing.”

Finnerty has to consider whether to deplete an ailing defence by dropping Chad Huttel or Francis Trudel for tomorrow’s Coventry Blaze visit, a game expected to attract 5,000 fans. If the coach gives them another chance, the question will be whether he, himself, is injury-free, in which case out-of-favour Neil Clark would sit out again. Clark, fancied by EPL neighbours Sheffield Steeldogs, scored 2+3 against Coventry in September. But he hasn’t scored against any of the other top four sides and hasn’t found the net, at all, since November 6.

Meanwhile, ex Coventry winger Luke Fulghum lines up against his old side for the second time in 22 days tomorrow. Reflecting on being released by Blaze, he said: “That’s the business of hockey, it has happened to me before. You can’t dwell on the past, you must look forward to the future and it’s where you are now. I am happy.”

n Tony Hand has been confirmed as new GB boss - confirmation of a Star tip back on December 14.