LEEDS FORCE and Sheffield Sharks meet tonight in the first Yorkshire derby of the BBL Championship season.
Atiba Lyons’s Sharks edge the league record between Yorkshire’s two top clubs, winning two out of three meetings.
But Leeds are hoping to bounce back after last week’s defeat to Newcastle Eagles, when the two sides meet at Carnegie Sports Centre (7.30).
Force forward Armand Anebo said: “It was tough one [against Newcastle] and despite the loss we were really pleased with the performance.
“In addition it shows that as a team we made some huge gains.
“I mean, having lost to the same team by almost 40 points at the beginning of the season to a 10 points loss last weekend goes to show that whatever we have done to this point, it is working and therefore we need to keep working hard and improving.
“Coach Atiba has Sheffield playing relentless defence and a free flowing offence both complemented by an experience and skilful line-up with the likes of [Mike] Tuck, [Mike] Cook, [Jerrold] Brooks and [Antone] Robinson to mention a few names. For us offensively, we need to take care of the ball and play the game possession by possession.
“Defensively, we need to keep our focus and remain disciplined in order to disrupt their flow.”
Eighth-placed Sheffield can leapfrog Leeds in the table with victory tonight.
But Sharks coach Lyons will not be under-estimating the threat of a Leeds side who are still relative newcomers to the league.
“They’ve always had a good system, coaching has been strong, I just think they lacked a little bit of experience,” said Lyons.
“They have that now and they have some stronger import players. “It’s vital we have someone like [Mike] Tuck.
“If you want to compete to be a top-four team, you have to have strong British players and he’s one of those guys that have been consistent for us.
“The better he plays, the better we are.”
“(Antone Robinson and Jerrold Brooks) are doing well. I’m not too surprised because they are very talented players.
“And I am glad they are having the type of start they’re having.
“But we’ve got to make sure those scores and boxscores turn into wins.
“They’ve had good stats, TJ especially, but there is still an adjustment period.”