Gerad Adams believes there is no clear-cut favourite in the race for the Elite League title.
The Sheffield Steelers coach has led his side to second place in the championship table , three points behind Braehead Clan.
Some observers think Clan are the most likely to lift the priority silverware, because of the perception that their Conference is less challenging.
But Adams said: “I don’t know if they are favourites - there are so many twists and turns that could happen between now and the end of the (regular) season.
“I think anybody in the top five (which includes tomorrow’s opponents Nottingham, Belfast and Cardiff) have a chance.”
Steelers added two points to their haul with a 5-3 win over Edinburgh on Wednesday, but Adams was not in celebratory mood after the game.
“I suppose you could say we played well enough to get the win. But if we are not at our best individually and as a team at Nottingham, we will face problems. We need to compete at a higher level.”
Panthers have lost their last two games and Adams knows they will be desperate to win in front of their home crowd at the National Ice Arena.
Steelers have lost three times at that venue, 2-1, 3-2 and 7-2.
And Panthers’ forward Chris Lawrence has hit five goals in those games against Adams’ men.
“We will be mindful of him, he is a very good hockey player. But we are going in there with a Game Plan to win.”
Injured defenceman Dustin Kohn has been skating since Tuesday, but the club will delay a decision on his availability.
Saturday’s game is a sell-out at the NIA and Panthers star Greg Jacina says a home win is essential: “It was upsetting losing the last two games, the guys were down a little. We don’t want that feeling any more this season.”