Solid start required by Steeldogs in Roses clash

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ANDRE Payette says Friday night’s clash between Sheffield Steeldogs and Manchester Phoenix is a chance for both teams to kick-start their season.

The English Premier League rivals have both suffered stuttering starts to their campaigns, with the Steeldogs losing their second game in three in a 4-2 home defeat to Bracknell Bees. Manchester have also suffered early on, with an 8-2 thumping at Milton Keynes last Saturday being their second defeat in four games.

With the Steeldogs having lifted the traditional pre-season War of the Roses trophy this year, there may be added spice to Friday night’s meeting at Ice Sheffield (7.45pm) in a game Sheffield coach Payette believes is hugely important to both teams.

“I think Manchester are going through a little of what we are,“ said Payette. “Both sides have added new players and are going through the learning process of knowing where everyone fits in on their respective teams.

“Neither of us will be entirely happy with our starts, so it makes this game even more important.”

One thing Payette will be keen to avoid is his team going three goals down for a fourth game running. Only once have the Steeldogs been able to rectify the situation, needing a shoot-out to defeat Swindon Wildcats 5-4 at home two weeks ago.

“We need to come out strong from the start and play with the passion and intensity which I feel we have to play with every night,” added Payette.

Tickets are priced at: Adult £9, Concession £6.50, Child £3.50, Under 8’s Free, Family £20.