Paul Thompson hopes John Armstrong’s return will stimulate more competition for places at Sheffield Steelers.
The forward won’t play this weekend, but with five Elite League games remaining, the coach wants to spot him back in the team before the Play Offs start.
“I want competition” said Thompson, adding that the player would be training with a splint for his hand in the short-term.
"If we are fit at quarter final time, with everybody, I’ve got to leave two guys out, so guys had better get on their horses if they want to stay in the team.”
As for Armstrong, a leading scorer until he damaged a finger against Nottingham Panthers, he said: “What I want him to do is blow some cobwebs out with some hockey games prior to the quarter finals.
"It would be tough to throw him in, in that situation, when he hasn’t played for four months.”
But a fit Armstrong could turn out to be their best Play Off player, he said.
“And he is chomping at the bit.”