Sheffield Steelers braced for two huge games against Glasgow Clan

Aaron Fox knew all about the dangers facing Steelers, when playing against Glasgow Clan, long before he signed a three year contract in Sheffield.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 9:52 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 11:08 am
John Armstrong comes a cropper

In fact, when he came for his initial job interview on February 20 this year, he was present in the stands at the House of Steel to witness a 6-1 hammering of then-coach Tom Barrasso's side.

There have been wholesale changes to the squad that began the night with a starting attacking line up of Tom Zanoski, Josh Pitt and Eric Neiley.

Barrasso had blamed himself for a lack of preparation for the midweek game.

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But the same pre-match problem is unlikely to happen this weekend when Sheffield take on the Clan home and away.

"We are trying to do this one game at a time" said Fox, who will be running the bench for the 40th time, if you include pre-season friendlies.

"We'll focus on that first game on Saturday and try to get the points and try and get ourselves ready for the next night. They are obviously two huge hockey games."

Fox's side has fared little better than Barrasso's did, so far this term, losing 3-4 at home in September and 5-8 away last month.

In that last game, there were familiar echoes of a Sheffield side not willing to compete in individual duels.

"They have had our number, they came in and scored four early on us at the game here, we came back, I thought we played really well that game" recalled the coach.

"I thought maybe the game in Glasgow was one of our worst games we have played all year.

"Actually the game that I watched when I came last year when I came in for my interview was a 6-1 Glasgow win on a Wednesday night here in the Arena, so I knew they had some firepower and could play.

"The League is interesting that way, where a few guys aren't ready to lay it on the line to battle for 60 (minutes) on nights the score can get run up pretty quickly."

Recent EIHL results haven't favoured the Clan, losing to Belfast Giants, Guildford Flames and Cardiff Devils.

But after enduring injury problems, Fox believes the Scots will be healthier now and ready for the weekend.

However, Steelers will likely have to take to the ice without point-a-game centreman John Armstrong (upper body injury.)

*Confirmed dates for the Challenge Cup Semi-Finals against Glasgow: away January 15, home 29 January 29.

The winners will advance to the final which takes place on March 8 in Cardiff's Viola Arena.