How Sheffield Steelers fans can help tired side

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Coach Paul Thompson says Steelers fans will have a big part to play in rallying his side when they return to Sheffield Arena on Sunday.

The injury-hit side have back-to-back games at Belfast Giants on Friday and Saturday before flying back to England on the Sunday morning a few hours before they host Manchester Storm.

Asked about the super-tight schedule, Thompson replied : “We fly back on Sunday mid-day, grab something to eat and come straight to the rink. We really have got a very tough schedule, three in three with the travel back.

“I don’t think it’s (the timetable) good for anybody, especially in Britain where you don’t have big squads. If you have 28 players than maybe you can carry that and switch guys in and out.

“But that’s the way it is. They do it in American and the East Coast League,; they wouldn’t dream of doing it in Europe. But there are cost implications and it is what it is. Every team in the League has to do it, so we just have to make sure we are prepared and ready to go.

“It’s the travel that kills you. We need our fans in numbers on Sunday to lift us. We are going to be a tired group; the crowd can really be that extra guy for us.”

Jason Hewitt - Sheffield Steelers man found his first goal of his testimonial season

Jason Hewitt - Sheffield Steelers man found his first goal of his testimonial season

The Arena stands will certainly always get behind veteran forward Jason Hewitt, who broke Ron Shudra’s playing record last Wednesday, albeit captaining the team to a wretched defeat to Edinburgh Capitals.

He responded by scoring an equaliser with eight minutes left against Braehead Clan last Sunday, laying the platform for the eventual late win.

“He was was really disappointed, (after the Edinburgh loss,) he broke the record on Wednesday but we had that miserable result.

“He wanted to leave there feeling the proudest man in the world.

“He was pretty upset and pretty down with the result so this (Brahead goal) was a nice reward for him, to do it in the Arena and tie us up. He is a great part of our team. I have said it time and time again. He is the glue in there.”

Thompson said no one wants a role on a fourth line with less ice time “but he understands the role he has got.”

Meanwhile, Mike Duco has an outside chance of playing this weekend. There were fears that, like Rob Dowd, he’d cracked a bone, but that is not the case. Colton Fretter, who has played the entire season with a groin injury, is unlikely to feature.

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