Clark steps in from shadows

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NEIL CLARK can pierce the gloom covering some of Sheffield Steelers dressing room - and boost his own career - this weekend.

The Sheffield Steelers’ winger - a champion in the same uniform last season - has been out of favour for much of this campaign.

But player-coach Ryan Finnerty’s decision to axe another import left winger, Colt King means he is back in the mix and is expected to play both games against Hull Stingrays this weekend as the Play Offs get underway.

Clark has clearly been dejected at being overlooked for 20 games so far, but is ready now to prove his worth.

The coach said: “Neil gets the opportunity to get back in. He played two games the weekend before last (defeats at Belfast and Hull) and is match-fit and ready to go.

“I haven’t picked him a lot but there is no tension between us and he can be an asset for us now.

“Some people perceive there may be bitterness or resentment or even hatred between us but that’s not the case” said Finnerty.

“Hull Stingrays (quarter final weekend opponents, tomorrow and Sunday) always play the same way, they come at you hard.

“It can be a chippy, gritty game and Neil will be useful.

“You don’t get a healthy scratch in European hockey every day, it’s been tough, but he is back.”

Finnerty is not revealing his reasons for cutting King.

But he did tell The Star: “I realise releasing Kinger was not a popular decision but it sent a signal. There is a difference between people having a night off and those who cannot get motivated. And, 100 per cent, I’d do the same again to anyone who can’t get motivated for the Play Offs ahead.”

Finnerty says he has options should injuries crop up in the forward ranks. “Rod Sarich can play up there and Matt Stephenson was up in the wing last year in the AHL” he said.