Dave Simms column: What a road trip lies ahead for the Steelers this weekend.
Saturday morning: leave Sheffield and fly to Belfast - game against the Giants on Saturday evening.
Sunday morning and back on the plane with a flight to Cardiff - Sunday evening a top of the table fixture against the Devils.
And football managers moan about a congested schedule? Don’t make me laugh!
Steelers go into the weekend in the best possible form and full of confidence after two exceptional performances against Nottingham last weekend.
The 5-4 road win in Nottingham last Saturday flattered the Panthers – they were well beaten. On Sunday the Steelers were simple outstanding, especially in the first half of the game whilst building up a 5-0 lead.
Never have Steelers fans been so relaxed in a game against Nottingham, the result on Sunday was simply never in doubt. Those two losses will cost two or three Panthers players their jobs, no question.
To win both games this weekend would be an amazing statement of intent but realistically, it’s an incredibly difficult task taking into account the travel and opponents.
The Giants trail the Steelers in the standings and haven’t had a successful time of it in the last 18 months, having won only one of the last 10 games against Paul Thompson’s side.
The Devils are many points clear at the top of the league. The Steelers do have games in hand but in this modern game, can they really all be won?
The Steelers need to find a way to beat out Cardiff; they have played so well against the Welsh this year, but haven’t managed to beat them in league play.
Sheffield-born goalie Ben Bowns has been a major reason for Cardiff’s success playing some incredible games. The Steelers forwards need to find a way past him.
The return of Yared Hagos last weekend made an exceptional difference, three centres and four pairs of wingers were relentless against the Panthers and they have to be again against Belfast and Cardiff.
Hagos jumped right back into the Steelers line up after two weeks off following his concussion - and what a quality pick up he has been. The balance of the Sheffield side looks just so much better with him in the line up.
Final word goes to Jonathan Phillips, the Steelers captain who celebrated his testimonial on Tuesday.
What a servant to the club he has been.
The club’s most successful captain and now, in his 11th year, closing in on the club’s - and the Elite League’s all-time appearance record.
What a career. I hope you appreciate him.