Leeds Force return to league action tonight when they take on high-flying Leicester Riders at the Carnegie Sports Arena.
The Force play their third home game of the season and are looking to make amends for their second-half demise against the Cheshire Phoenix a fortnight ago.
After a dominant first-half performance Leeds led at the break by 12, but in the second half they were caught cold by the visitors and lost by 20 points.
After a strong week’s training coach Matt Newby took his roster to Scotland as they turned their attention to the BBL Cup and the Glasgow Rocks on Sunday. Despite a courageous performance on the floor, Leeds were unable to come away with the win and were knocked out by the Rocks for the second year in a row.
There were plenty positives to take from the game, however, in the Emirates Arena and, if they are able to turn in regular performances of that calibre, they will be pushing for a high play-off spot.
It will be no easy task against the Riders tonight as they look to get a second league win under their belt, but, having beaten them last year, they know they can cause another upset.
A big performance was needed that night as the Force were desperate to reach the play-offs. Having picked up the shock win they managed to go on and secure eighth place.
Despite having got the better of them before, coach Newby has his feet firmly on the ground going into this game.
“Leicester are a fantastic side, the oldest in country, they have the experience and know how to handle these situations,” he said.
“They have had a great start this season, they are unbeaten, so we really need to be on top of our game and execute our jobs to the best of our abilities.”
What makes the start the Riders have made even more impressive is that they have had a number of injuries hit their side, but the depth of the roster has worked well for the 2015/16 league winners.
And that’s something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by coach Newby. He said: “Rob Paternostro has recruited really well. You can see that already.”
The Force have also recruited very well in the off season with the likes of Jermaine Sanders, Rob Sandoval and Jack Isenbarger slotting in seamlessly.
Leicester will need to keep a close eye on the three Americans if they are to leave Yorkshire with their unbeaten run still intact.
Isenbarger sits top of the scoring charts in the BBL having scored 28 points on his debut. Sandoval sits third in the assist charts with an average of eight a game.
Rob Marsden will not be fit enough to play against Leicester Riders with his ankle still injured so he will join Armand Anebo and Oliver Hylands on the sidelines.