Personal pride at stake as Leeds Force stars are challenged to finish season on a high

Head coach Matt Newby
Head coach Matt Newby
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Leeds Force head coach Matt Newby has challenged his players not to let their BBL season peter out, after their play-off hopes were all but ended over the weekend.

Force have been outside the top eight for the entirety of what has been a difficult campaign, and any lingering hopes of a late dash to the top eight were extinguished at the weekend by results elsewhere.

Leeds Force have six more games left this season, including three at home.

Leeds Force have six more games left this season, including three at home.

This time last year they embarked on a late run to gatecrash the play-offs – a major step forward in just their second season among the elite.

But even though that now appears out of the question, with Leeds 12 points adrift of eighth with 12 points left to play for from their remaining six games, Newby insists there is plenty for his team to be motivated by.

“Ultimately what I’d like to say to the players, whether they are staying with us next season or moving on, is to close out the season with a mark of professionalism,” said Newby, whose side host basement side Manchester Giants at Carnegie Sports Arena on Friday night.

“Recruiters look at how a person closes out a season, and they, as well as ourselves, want them to play with the same professionalism they have all season. We’re not where we wanted to be, but with the exception of one or two games we have been competitive.

“And we expect that to continue in the final six games, starting with Manchester on Friday night when we want to sweep them with a third win from three against them. Another of our motivations is to keep the public motivated and excited. We’ve been able to do that on all but one occasion on our home court this season.”

After Friday’s game with Manchester, Force have a short turnaround before a trip to Bristol Flyers on Saturday night.