Road trips will test the Force’s play-off hopes

Matt Newby

Matt Newby

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Leeds Force head to London’s Copper Box tonight for the first of four of their next five games on the road, writes NICK WESTBY.

The BBL rookies have played the majority of their fixtures on their home floor of Leeds Beckett University because of the availability of dates at the busy sports arena.

They played their Yorkshire derby decider with Sheffield Sharks last week at the University of Huddersfield, a one-off ‘home’ fixture which was deemed a commercial success by the club.

But if Force are to fulfil their quest to gatecrash the top eight and the end-of-season play-offs, they will have to do it the hard way, starting with tonight’s trip to London Lions and Sunday’s visit to Manchester Giants.

For head coach Matt Newby, the two opponents offer differing challenges.

“We certainly ran London close in both games,” said Newby, whose side have won only once on the road.

“We matched up with them well, it was just that late in the game they had the calibre of players who could put distance on us on the scoreboard. It’s also a great privilege for our players to play at the Copper Box. And Manchester are a team we match up against really well. We feel we have a good understanding of their personnel after beating them twice this season.”

Force are still sweating on the availability of forward Will Hall after he left last week’s defeat to the Sharks with an impact injury.

Leeds Force coach Matt Newby has his work cut out in the coming off-season following his side's hefty last-day defeat to Cheshire Phoenix.

Cheshire Phoenix 128 Leeds Force 77: Force go out with whimper as red-hot Phoenix party