Sheffield Steelers will face a wounded animal in Nottingham Panthers on Saturday.
There haven’t have been many occasions when Sheffield’s biggest rivals roll into town on the back of five straight Elite League defeats.
Under-pressure boss Corey Neilson, whose side face Coventry on Friday in the Challenge Cup will be desperate to see his team begin a winning streak.
Panthers’ situation, they have a point less than Sheffield having played three games more, puts Steelers problems of losing their last game, into perspective.
But Sheffield coach Paul Thompson said: “It is always a game we feel we have got to win, there will be a big crowd and the new guys will see what it’s all about.
“We had been playing really good up until last Sunday while they have had a bad spell.
“Form doesn’t lead the way in games like this, though.
“We want to bounce back after Sunday’s performance and they want to win after five defeats in a row.
“They will be dangerous. We will have to be prepared for them.”
The game will see a home debut for veteran Swedish centreman Yared Hagos, who played in the two Scottish away matches, last weekend.
“He is going to be good for us” said the coach.
“He hadn’t played this season and energy-wise you saw him drop a little on Sunday.
“He had arrived in marvellous shape, but match-fitness is something else.
“He is smart, strong in his own end and very mature. You expect people from his background to be professional and he is, a real leader.”
Thompson played Hagos alongside Desbiens and Fretter last weekend, but it remains to be seen which line he’ll be on against Nottingham on Saturday.
FACT: Steelers score more goals home and away, on average, than any other elite league team (4.5 per match.)