Sheffield Steelers’ blue line will be reinforced by the return of heavyweight Zack Fitzgerald at Manchester Storm on Wednesday night.
The physical defenceman was missing from Steelers’ last game, a defeat at Coventry Blaze, on February 7, amid fears that he had hurt his hand.
That’s not ideal when you drop the gloves as much as he does.
Head coach Paul Thompson revealed though that ‘Fitzy’ was ready to return.
“We spoke last week about how the break had come at the right time for some of the guys, I think it’s safe to say that Fitzy was one of those guys. The poor bloke was battered and bruised, he is a warrior and would play every shift of every game every night if asked to do so. His body needed a week off
“The guys all got together for training on Sunday and he was one refreshed and raring to go – is he 100% fit now? No, but there isn’t a player in the league 100% fit. He is ready though and he will be all systems go for the game in Manchester.
“I saw a freshness about us in Monday’s skate, it was a reaction I was looking for after the break
“The next week and a half will determine where the season goes. Hugely important league games against Manchester and Cardiff at the weekend quickly followed by the two semi final games in the Challenge Cup against Nottingham.
“I guess it’s that old boring statement of one game at a time but that’s exactly how we have to take it – starting with Fitz’s return in Manchester.”
Injuries elsewhere in the camp are slow-going.
Rob Dowd’s leg injury is probably worse than first thought; he is still weeks away.
Colton Fretter is having a course of injections to try and improve his chances of a return for the title run-in.