Peterborough Phantoms v Leeds Chiefs – Patience and self-belief crucial for Chiefs, says Sam Zajac

Leeds Chiefs' player-coach, Sam Zajac. 'Picture: Chris Stratford
Leeds Chiefs' player-coach, Sam Zajac. 'Picture: Chris Stratford
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THAT all-important and historic first win may be proving elusive, but Leeds Chiefs’ player-coach Sam Zajac insists there is no panic in the ranks.

READ MORE – Leeds Chiefs planning to be surprise package for Peterborough Phantoms

Leeds Chiefs'' James Archer, in action during last week's defeat at Milton Keynes. Picture courtesy of Tony Sargent.

Leeds Chiefs'' James Archer, in action during last week's defeat at Milton Keynes. Picture courtesy of Tony Sargent.

Four games have yielded no points so far for the UK game’s newest franchise as they head to Cambridgeshire tomorrow to take on Peterborough Phantoms – a match-up expected to bring another gruelling examination of their NIHL National credentials.

READ MORE – When and where Leeds Chiefs will play their 2019-20 NIHL National fixtures

READ MORE – How James Archer and Radek Meidl are leading the production line for Leeds Chiefs

But, while others may be doubting their ability to live with their second-tier rivals, Zajac, 30, is convinced brighter times are not too far away.

I’d be a lot more concerned if we weren’t in games, but barring that last 10 minutes against Milton Keynes, I think we’ve been in contention every time.

Leeds Chiefs’ player-coach Sam Zajac

“It’s a process,” said the defenceman. “As long as we’re playing the right way, there is no panic that is going to set in.

“We’re not going to cheat offensively and try to run-and-gun with teams. We know the way that we want to play and we know that with the guys we have got here, we are ultimately going to be successful.

“It’s about going through the process and making sure we do the little things right and, sooner or later, we’ll get that first win on the board and then, hopefully, we can get going on a bit of a roll.”

Leeds are likely to go into tomorrow’s clash a forward light given Chris Sykes’s departure earlier this week after the 27-year-old winger decided to return to Billingham Stars.

Slava Koulikov.

Slava Koulikov.

But, regardless of numbers on the bench, Zajac is confident he is seeing the necessary signs to show him that his roster is growing into the 2019-20 campaign, having started well behind their rivals in terms of preparation – a situation that continues to be hindered while they wait for the new Elland Road rink to be completed.

“Obviously the longer it goes on, the more pressure we will put on ourselves as a group to get that first win,” added Zajac.

“I’d be a lot more concerned if we weren’t in games, but barring that last 10 minutes against Milton Keynes (the Chiefs lost 8-4 last Saturday) I think we’ve been in contention every time.

“We haven’t been outplayed by anybody and we’ve come up against teams who I believe will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.

“We know it is a competitive league, we knew that coming in and sooner or later we’re going to get that lucky bounce and we’re going to turn a team over.

“That’s what we need to kickstart our season.”