Sheffield Steelers star Liam Kirk sets sights on Russia but he'll have to shake off an injury

Liam Kirk still has some rehabilitation work to do to shake off an injury before taking on the might of Russia in the World Championships.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 11:12 am
Liam Kirk is hoping to shake off an injury before Great Britain begin their World Championships

The Great Britain player suffered a bruised coccyx playing for Sheffield Steelers against Manchester Storm in the recent domestic tournament.

He missed the play off semi finals returning in the finals - where his back issue impacted on his ability to perform.

Kirk is still not completely fit, but hopes to be so by the time GB take on the Russians on May 22, in Latvia.

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The 21-year-old Maltby-born winger said he had been caught in the back by an opponent's knee in the Storm game.

"I missed the semis, played in the finals, but wasn't anywhere close to 100 per cent.

"I didn't have my full stride, I couldn't get off the mark quickly and had to build up to get to my full speed. I couldn't really engage and get in the corners and battle.

"It was really aggravating with a lot of shooting pains but I just tried to help as much as I could.

"Obviously the results didn't go the way we wanted; it was just one of those things.

Kirk says he is around 90 per cent fit now: "Hopefully by the time the games start I will be at 100.

"It was on my mind at the end of the Elite series and the first bit of (GB) training but now it is just like an achy pain and it is not as debilitating as it was.

"I am working through it and it is not really on my mind, well maybe a small part of it is, but not enough to distract me from playing. Fingers crossed it won't get any worse."

Playing against the world's number two seeds is a massive incentive and challenge for the player who was selected in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the Arizona Coyotes.

"We know we are playing the best of the best, so we will have prepared the best we can, and will try to be as fast as we can, we are all going to play our hardest, like we always do and see what happens. As long as we stick to the system and try our best that is all we can really do."

GB cannot afford to panic if they ship in a few goals, early on.

"Obviously we are not foolish, we know they are going to produce a lot of offence.

"For us it's about playing the best we can. If we did go a few goals behind we'd have to remain cool and calm, keep playing and try harder."

Kirk is happy with the vibe in the GB camp.

"We are all optimistic that we can win some games. The chemistry is great and so is the attitude and environment in the group.

"We are all excited to get going. We want to do the best we can.

"We are all realistic and realise these are the top, top nations, but we have done what is not expected of us before."