Sheffield Steelers need to find confidence and trust in the team ethic, says Mark Matheson

Sheffield Steelers face a true test of character this week - and none more so than interim player-coach Mark Matheson.

The club slipped to back-to-back defeats last weekend, to Glasgow Clan and Fife Flyers.

Mark Matheson: picture by Dean Woolley

Mark Matheson: picture by Dean Woolley

It looks like a team short on confidence, especially when they concede a goal.

And the job of restoring some confidence falls to Matheson - who must do that without knowing what his own fate will be.

Throughout the weekend, Steelers have been carrying out "due diligence" checks on a number of candidates for the job Matheson took on following the exit of Paul Thompson.

The club is also running the rule over the player market - although it must be more difficult to attract personnel when the skater doesn't know who he'll be coached by.

Top of Matheson's agenda will be to stop individual play and get his men to concentrate on team effort.

After the 1-4 loss in Scotland, the Canadian said players departed from the game plan adding: "We have got to turn things around,stick together as a group. We have got to get the job done."

Twenty four hours earlier, he'd referred to the need to have a firmer belief in team structure.

Following the 2-4 loss to Clan, he said: "I think it comes to trusting each other; trusting the system and using the support of the team.

"We have a little bit of one on one right now and we need to be a five-man unit all the time."

Matheson accepted he has to get on with the task in hand, rather than concern himself with the club searching the market for a potential new coach.

"We are trying to get everyone committed to being the best we can be and put some wins together and moving forward in the season.”

The job as player coach is "definitely different.

"It is a lot of work but at the same time it is something I feel I am giving a good effort and I want to be better at."

Steelers have the chance to redeem themselves on Saturday at Nottingham Panthers.

Matheson regards them as a stronger team than last season.

"I think they are more structured. They have got some skill. So do we but we have to play our system.

"We came away with a win the last time, (Sept 29, 3-2) they are a good team, we'll be playing in their rink so we are going to have to bring our best."

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