Missing key players his team may be against a rival they aspire to match one day soon, but Sheffield Steelers’ head coach Aaron Fox backs his players to stand up and be counted in South Wales tonight.
Already missing Michael Davies on a six-game suspension following an incident in the recent Challenge Cup game against Manchester Storm, the Steelers were hit with a further blow this week when they were told top overall points scorer in the Elite League – Marc-Olivier Vallerand – would be absent from tonight’s roster at Cardiff Devils.
Vallerand was banned for one game by the EIHL Department of Player Safety after being handed supplementary discipline after a roughing call against him in the the 4-2 defeat at Guildford Flames last Sunday.
But while it hampers the Steelers’ chances to level the head-to-head series against Andrew Lord’s team, Fox actually believes such adversity could bring out the best in his team.
He felt his Steelers’ team were unlucky to come out of the previous meeting between the two in Sheffield at the end of September with nothing when a late Joey Haddad goal sealed a 3-2 win for the Devils.
“Not having Vally and Michael Davies is a big loss, but it also creates an opportunity for other guys to step up,” Fox told BBC Sheffield.
I like our group and I like the way we have responded to adversity previously this year and this will be another one of those nights.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach Aaron Fox
“We’ll be running a litle bit thinner than we’d like to be but I like our group and I like the way we have responded to adversity previously this year and this will be another one of those nights.
“Cardiff and Belfast are the benchmark for where we’re trying to be at and it will be another good test for us.”
On a weekend that sees the Steelers hit the road on both nights, they head to Manchester tomorow.