Sheffield Steelers warned over rejuvenated rivals Nottingham Panthers
Sheffield Steelers are getting ready to face a rejuvenated Nottingham Panthers team – with their deadliest rivals heading to the Arena on the back of some good form in domestic and European endeavours.
Tim Wallace's team have performed well in League and Continental Cup action.
Last weekend, they did well abroad, winning two out of three, and securing their place in January's Continental Cup Super Final.
It's all a far cry from a mixed start to the EIHL season, which saw Nottingham lost seven games on the bounce, including three straight at home they were and seemingly were in a tail-spin.
But Panthers, with ex Steeler Mark Matheson in the side, have picked up.
Steeler Ben O'Connor says his team must be on their toes against Panthers on Saturday at the Arena.
"We've done well against them since the start of the year, they have brought in a couple of new guys, since then the results have been turning for them," he acknowledged.
"They have had a couple of good wins against Belfast and they have started to turn things round so it will be a challenging game."
Generally, he said that Continental Cup matches against European opposition can be a blessing or an ill, dependent on results.
They can be bonding experiences, and winning games can add extra energy to the squad.
But was Wallace now getting it right for Nottingham?
"Yes, if you asked their fans at the beginning of the year they wouldn't have thought so, but he is a good coach and a good hockey man, he knows what he is doing.
"For him, I am glad he has turned it around and things are looking up but from a Steelers' standpoint I hope we do the business with them."
*Steelers have confirmed that the home leg of their Challenge Cup quarter-final will be played at the Arena on Wednesday, December 11, at 7.30.
The opponent will be confirmed later this week. The game will be a £5 entry event.
Tickets will go on sale from the Arena Box Office on Thursday from 10am
Season Ticket Holders will have until close of business on December 1 to reserve their season ticket seats.
Meanwhile, Panthers have also put tickets on sale for the Steelers' game on New Year's Eve (4PM.)