Lack of focus could see Sheffield Steelers get burned by red-hot Guildford Flames

JONATHAN PHILLIPS says Sheffield Steelers cannot afford to switch off for one moment or risk seeing their winning streak come to an end against Guildford Flames tonight.

Sheffield Steelers' captain, Jonathan Phillips. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Paul Dixon brings his team to Sheffield Arena on the back of a four-game winning run and having already got the better of the Steelers on two occasions already this season, albeit on home ice.

Regarded as possessing one of the quickest and highly-skilled rosters around, the Flames have stepped up the pace in what is only their second season in the top-flight.

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Earlier this week, the Flames and Steelers were drawn against each other in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup – a two-legged tie scheduled for next month.

Paul Thompson

But, for now, Steelers’ captain Phillips and his team-mates will be looking to restore league bragging rights over the Surrey club by extending their own winning streak to four games.

“They’ve impressed ever since they have come up into the league,” said Phillips. “I think you saw that in the latter stages of last season – how good and deadly, at times, that they can be.

“They are such a fast and skilled team, that you really have to make sure you don’t switch off and play a 60-minute game against them because they can score goals and they can quickly capitalise on any mistakes that you make.

“Paul is one of them coaches that you don’t want to let down and, as a player, you’re going to give your best for him every single night. He’s very much a players’ coach.”

Meanwhile, Phillips – who leads his team up to Scotland tomorrow night to face Dundee Stars – has backed former Steelers’ boss Paul Thompson to prove a success after landing the head coach role of DEL outfit Schwenninger Wild Wings.

Thompson, who resigned earlier this season for personal reasons, flew out to Germany yesterday to take charge of his new team who are currently bottom of the standings.

But Phillips expects his former boss to have a positive impact.

“It’s brilliant that he’s got himself a new job,” said Phillips. “He’s a smart hockey man and his previous experience in Sweden and Denmark, as well as his international experience with GB, will be a big help to him.”