SWINDON’S Matias Perkkio is delighted to be back from injury and says he is ready for the physical challenge that will be presented by Sheffield tonight (7.30pm).
The 25-year-old Finn returned to the fold on Sunday for the 5-2 defeat to Milton Keynes, and now will be thrown into the proverbial lions’ den for Wildcats’ trip north.
Far from being intimidated, the man who picked up the Swindon man of the match award the last time the teams’ met at iceSheffield is relishing the encounter ahead.
“It’s been a long month without any games, but that’s hockey, sometimes bad things happen and I hope that’s the last,” he said.
”It’s so hard to watch games especially if the team loses, you just want to help the team but you can’t do anything, so of course it’s frustrating.
“It will be a tough game against Sheffield, they are big guys that are physical so we will have to be ready.
“I don’t mind that side of the game, I like big hits as long as they are clean.”
Perkkio’s fellow forward Lee Richardson agrees that the Steeldogs will use a muscular approach this evening and is expecting it to be a difficult experience.
“They like to play their physical style which borders on the edge sometimes,” he said.
“You’re not going to get any time on the puck, but we’ve got to play the same way as them when they take it to us.
“We don’t expect anything more than a tough game.”
Swindon head coach Ryan Aldridge has questioned Sheffield’s physical approach already this season and believes ‘team toughness’ will be important for Wildcats tonight.
“If we go up there in the right frame of mind and play team-tough then it’s a game we can win,” he said.
“If we play like we did (against Milton Keynes) we’re in for a hell of a hockey game.
“We just can’t be intimidated, we have to play team-tough, match them with whatever they want to throw at us and play smart.”
Nicky Watt is the most likely recent injury victim to return tonight pending an X-ray today, while Jamie Hayes still struggling on the sidelines.
Netminder Tom Murdy, who has not played a single game this season due to injury, turned out for Swindon’s ENL side on Saturday.
He is expected to be brought into the Wildcats side in the next week or two.