SHEFFIELD Steeldogs face a stern examination of their outside title credentials when they take on fellow high-fliers Slough Jets in a pivotal double header this weekend,
Andre Payette’s team, who salvaged last weekend by following up a 3-2 loss at Milton Keynes Lightning with a come-from-behind 6-4 win at struggling Telford Tigers.
The only previous meeting between Sheffield and the Jets this season saw the Berkshire club triumph 4-1 at The Hangar, with player-coach Doug Sheppard’s side going into this weekend on the back of two wins last weekend to keep them level on points with current leaders Guildford Blaze.
Sunday’s meeting back at Ice Sheffield (5.30pm) doubles up as a Premier Cup meeting with points vital to both sides’ hopes of making the last four.
While acknowledging the quality of opposition his players will face this weekend - former Coventry Blaze favourite Adam Calder leads the Jets scoring with 39 points, including 21 goals, in 20 games - Payette is impressed enough with his own young side to believe they can get something from the two games.
He said: “I’m very proud of my hard-working and resilient team.
“It has a ‘never-say-die’ attitude which has brought us back in a few third periods to win games. I’m expecting another tremendous effort from the guys and I think we’ll see two close games.”