ANDRE Payette is expecting his young team to step up and fill the gap left by the suspended Derek Campbell as Sheffield Steeldogs look to bounce back from an “unacceptable” weekend.
The English Premier League outfit followed up a 5-0 home loss to Slough Jets last Saturday with an 8-1 reverse on the road at Bracknell Bees 24 hours later.
Both results will have raised eyebrows around the league, particularly given that Steeldogs had gone into the weekend on the back of a four-game unbeaten run. To add insult to injury, experienced forward Campbell – formerly of Hull Stingrays and Sheffield Steelers – was handed a match penalty for fighting in the Bracknell defeat.
This means the 32-year-old will sit out tonight’s trip to Milton Keynes Lightning, who currently sit one place and one point above Sheffield. But, while acknowledging the loss of one of his key summer signings, Payette believes it is up to others on his roster to stand up and welcome the additional responsibility.
“It is a big loss being without Derek, but we have got other guys who are going to have to step up in his absence,” said Payette.
“ After last weekend, it is so important for us to get back to winning ways this week and pick up at least two points.
“Last week was unacceptable and the guys have had a tough week of practice. It was tough to take because we went into those two games last week on a high having won four in a row.”
After tonight’s trip to Buckinghamshire, Steeldogs return home tomorrow to host third-placed Guildford Flames, who beat them in the EPL Cup final last season.
The Steeldogs gained some revenge for that disappointment with a 5-4 overtime win in Surrey last month, but know Paul Dixon’s team will be keen to level matters at Ice Sheffield (5.30pm).
The club is doing a special promotion for the game, teaming up with Cineworld to offer a variety of prizes to coincide with the cinematic release of the latest James Bond movie Skyfall, including 25 pairs of tickets.
Payette added: “We are expecting a big crowd for the Flames. We want them to get behind us and we sure don’t want to disappoint.”