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Manchester Phoenix will look to get back to winning ways in the EPL – and avenge their defeat in the War of the Roses preseason challenge – when struggling Sheffield Steeldogs visit Altrincham on Sunday.
Tony Hand's men bagged 14 goals in two games last weekend as they produced a rousing comeback to defeat Slough Jets 7-5 before demolishing the Bracknell Bees 7-1 (pictured).
But they got a Halloween shock away to the Peterborough Phantoms on Wednesday night, letting a two-goal lead slip in the last four minutes before the hosts snatched a 5-4 win after a shootout.
Nevertheless, Phoenix have been in dominant form at the Ice Dome, with six straight wins at home. They also have the edge in the EPL over the Steeldogs, having won the previous league encounter between the two 4-2.
Sheffield, meanwhile, are on a four-game losing streak and have suffered three heavy defeats in the last couple of rounds, being thumped 5-0 by Slough, 8-1 by Bracknell and 7-3 by Guildford Flames.
But Phoenix player-coach Hand is not taking Sunday's opponents lightly and he knows his side will have to match Andre Payette's men both mentally and physically if they are to prevail in the derby battle.
"Steeldogs always bring their A game to us and we will treat the game as any other. They are a physical side, but we have shown this season that we will not be pushed around and I am looking to the lads to continue our good form and reward the fans with the points," he said.
Face-off for Sunday's game is 5.30pm. Tickets are available via the Manchester Phoenix website.
By Andy Jowett
Picture: Räi Pekkänen