Sheffield Steelers v Glasgow Clan - Steelers aim to stay in control to keep treble bid intact

FOUR GOALS to the good they may be, but there is little danger of Sheffield Steelers taking anything for granted against Glasgow Clan at the FlyDSA Arena tonight.

Jonathan Phillips for possession during the first leg of the Challenge Cup semi-final in Glasgow two weeks ago. Picture: Al Goold (www.algooldphoto.com)

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Self-belief ensures Steelers remain team to catch in Elite League title race

A devastating third period at Braehead Arena two weeks ago ensured the Steelers returned home from their Challenge Cup semi-final, first leg tie against Zack Fitzgerald’s team with a handsome 5-1 advantage.

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Most people will consider them to already have one foot in the final of a competition they have never won in the Elite League era, especially when facing a Clan side whose league form has seen them win only once in regulation in 20 games and in danger of falling out of the playoff positions.

But although the Steelers have won the last five meetings between the two teams, Phillips all-too-readily remembers twice suffering defeat at the hands of the Clan, when they were enjoying the kind of form that helped make them early-season leaders in the standings.

“They were one of the top teams at the beginning of the year,” said Phillips. “They had the best start out of anybody, so we know the firepower that they do have and although they have been unlucky with injuries to some key guys, there are other guys willing to step up and, in games like this one, you know they are going to step up.”

The Steelers understandably head into the game as firm favourites, given they have only lost twice in the last 17 games, a 6-5 overtime win in Coventry Blaze on Sunday securing a second straight four-point weekend to maintain their seven-point lead at the top of the standings.

The treble remains very much on and Phillips is determined more than ever to give himself and his team-mates a chance to lift the one piece of silverware that has eluded him during his 14 years at the club.

“We obviously need to be tight and solid defensively, particularly when they come at us hard in the first period,” said Phillips. “But, given the way we play, we can’t just sit back either. If we do that then that is where we can slip up, because we’ll be inviting trouble.

“We now know what makes us successful and we’ve got to carry on playing our natural game.

“We have to make other teams adjust to how we’re playing, rather than the other way around – that means we’re the ones in control.”