HULL PIRATES' coach Jason Hewitt is looking forward to his first visit to Elland Road, but is determined to end any momentum hosts Leeds Chiefs may be building.
Both teams are in decent form heading into Friday night's Yorkshire derby, the Chiefs having taken seven points from their last 10 - including two wins over leaders Telford Tigers - while the Pirates have lost only once in their last seven league games, that one setback coming last week at Sheffield Steeldogs.
The Chiefs got their first win at their new rink last weekend when defeating Telford 3-2 in a thrilling overtime win. But they have yet to get the better of Hewitt's Pirate this season, losing all five previous encounters.
Player-coach Hewitt admits his team will probably run out of games in order to overhaul both Telford and second-placed Swindon Wildcats and is looking for a swift bounce back following last week's 4-3 defeat at Ice Sheffield.
"It’s fun going to a brand new rink, I always look forward to going to a new rink, it’s something different," said Hewitt. "It's a small ice pad, so it will be end-to-end and quite an exciting game.
"Finally moving in seems to have given Leeds some life, they had a few good results leading up to getting in there and then last weekend against Telford, too, so I expect a tough game.
"Getting into that building after all this time must be a huge weight off their shoulders, especially Sammy (Chiefs' coach Zajac) as he is able to now just focus on what he’s there to do, which is coaching the team and playing.
"It looks like they’re enjoying things now and that’s a scary team to face when they are like that. But we’re a good team too and we are where we are because we’re a good team, so I expect they will be wary of us too."
Hewitt admitted to being frustrated at last Sunday's loss to long-term rivals Sheffield, largely because he felt his team were the more dominant and missed an opportunity to close the gap further on the top three, particularly third-placed Peterborough Phantoms.
Hull come into game in fourth place, four points off the Phantoms but with two games in hand. They have three games in hand on each of the top two, but with Telford 13 points clear it seems the best they can hope for out of the regular season is a runners-up spot.
"Sheffield didn’t really do anything that really broke us down, we just handed them a game which was really frustrating," said Hewitt. "Another thing that was frustrating was that every other result went our way in the sense of closing the gap on those teams above us. Peterborough didn’t play, so it was one of our games in hand on them that we kind of wasted.
"It was a big two points and I still see the title race being still very much between those top two. For them both to mess up enough to let a third party come in, is a big, big reach. One of them might implode, but not both of them."