Two Midlands rivals await the Nottingham Lions over the next two days, as they prepare enter their penultimate double-header weekend of the 2014/15 NIHL Laidler D2 season.
The Lions head to the Skydome on Saturday afternoon, to face old rivals Coventry Blaze (5pm) before returning to the National Ice Centre on Sunday, where they host the high-flying Telford Tigers (7.30pm).
Luke Thomas and the Blaze's Louie Brindle tussle in September's draw at the Skydome.
With six regular season games remaining, Nottingham still have a mathematical chance of finishing inside the top four places. However, last Sunday's narrow 3-1 defeat in Deeside all but ended any realistic hopes Matt Bradbury's side had of staying in the play off race, with the three teams directly above them all chasing fourth spot, all with a clear points advantage over the Lions and two of those sides also claiming a head to head advantage, beating Nottingham over a four game season series.
Bradbury's side have a good record against the Blaze during this campaign, winning two and drawing one of their three previous meetings. A thrilling 4-4 tie at the Skydome back in September was followed by two big Lions victories at the NIC, October's 10-3 win and a 7-4 decision in January.
In contrast, Nottingham have yet to pick up a single point against the second-placed Tigers this season, despite three very close encounters. A 3-0 loss at Telford Ice Rink back in October, December's heartbreaking, last-minute 2-1 home defeat at the NIC and the 5-2 result in Shropshire on Valentine's Day has so far, left the Lions empty-handed against their promoted local rivals.
Stuart Parker in action against the Tigers at the NIC, back in December.
Coach Bradbury will be hoping for the return of his defensive trio of Elliot Perrin, Sam Illsley and Lee Holland, who all missed last weekend trip to North Wales, whilst the club's talented Under-18s should also be available for selection.
With local pride at stake and with many of the squad playing for a place in next season's roster, there is no doubt that the Lions will be pumped up for these derby clashes and without a win in their last six games, Nottingham need little more encouragement to pick-up some much overdue points this weekend.