VIDEO: Four points for Sheffield Steelers despite continuing fitness issues
Sheffield Steelers' treatment room will need elasticated sides this week as coach Paul Thompson awaits improvements on a sizable proportion of his playing staff.
Absentees Mathieu Roy and Davey Phillips are doubtful for next weekend. Jonas Westerling and Scott Aarssen have both returned but are not 100%. Andreas Valdix is struggling while total match fitness eludes Matt Marquardt and new signing Andreas Jamtin.
Coach Paul Thompson said six players missed four training sessions last week so to get four points from Nottingham and Braehead and gain Challenge Cup quarter finals qualification was an achievement.
Thompson, who admits his team can be nervous playing at Sheffield Arena, believes his team will improve, especially when wingers Jamtin and Marquardt get up to speed. Of the new Swede, he said: “He hasn’t played since last season, he’s smart, does the right thing.
“Offensively we will get him going, he was tired (on Sunday) but he puts himself in the right position when he gets his fitness up, he’ll play with little more bit of an edge.”
Marquardt had his best game for the club at Panthers, he said, but didn’t “play with the same energy” against Clan.
“He’s a guy who missed five or six weeks and he’s still not back at it. His game drifts away a little bit, in the last half of the second game. But in a couple of weeks he will be back to his full game sharpness and he deserves to be up there (on the top line.)”
As for Roy, Thompson said: “We want to get Mathieu back when he’s feeling healthy.
“He is an old warrior, he’s been playing pretty banged up.
“He’s been getting frustrated because he knows he cannot help the team the way his body is feeling right now. As it stands now, won’t be playing next weekend.”