Eagles two wins away from BBL title

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

NEWCASTLE Eagles can claim their fifth BBL Championship in seven years this weekend, but coach Fab Flournoy has warned his players not to underestimate their lowly opponents.

The Eagles will lift the title provided they can overcome bottom club Birmingham Knights (tonight) and second-bottom Surrey United (tomorrow).

Flournoy’s side are undefeated in nine games going into the double header and have a 100 per cent record against both the Knights and United this season with their highest total coming in their 129-70 win over Birmingham at Sport Central last October.

However, with two grueling trips in as many days, Flournoy has warned his team not to let inconsistency creep in at the final hurdle.

“They are both banana skin games, particularly with the quick turnaround, and we will be preparing as we would for any other game,” the player/coach said.

“Obviously Birmingham have struggled in their first year but it looks like they played well at Plymouth last weekend and they do have a number of players who can score the ball.

“You don't really need a boost at this time of year.

“You just play every game as hard as you can. We know who we are and we know we have a decent team.

“The most important thing for us is not to get too high on wins and too low on losses. We do however get a few extra days to rest up which, after our previous schedule, is nice.”

Scott Martin can claim his first piece of BBL Silverware with the Eagles and although Birmingham have failed to win at all this season and Surrey have managed only four, the forward insists the Eagles will be focused on getting the job done.

He said: “We will be keeping our level of play high for these two games.

“We feel that we have been improving every time we step onto the court and we want to continue that trend.

“Also, playing games on back-to-back days is always a challenge that we have to be mentally and physically prepared for.”

Durham Wildcats will hope to end a four-game losing streak when they host reigning champions Leicester Riders tomorrow afternoon with a 4pm tip-off at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre.

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