Head coach Danny Nelson hopes Leeds Force’s brave effort against Bristol Flyers last week can spark a much-anticipated season turnaround, as Leeds look to fight back into the BBL play-off race in the second half of the 2017/18 campaign.
Despite bossing much of the contest, Force slipped to a heart-breaking eight-point defeat against the top-five chasing Flyers – an admirable performance that left a glowing Nelson heaping praise on his determined Leeds squad.
“We’re disappointed not to get the win having led for much of the game, we were the better team for much of the game but unfortunately not when it counted,” Nelson said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our guys, that was a huge improvement on recent weeks and hopefully that gives us a boost going into Sunday against Glasgow.”
Despite not boasting the type of quality necessary for Leeds to rub shoulders with the best of the BBL, Nelson believes that the sheer resolve of Force will eventually earn the West Yorkshire side some coveted wins that could prove the catalyst for a late-season charge into the play-offs.
He added: “We consider ourselves to be underdogs and our players thrive on that label. There’s a core group of guys who fight relentlessly for Leeds Force, and soon it will land us a knockout punch based on our grit and determination we show every week.
“We’ve had sickness, injuries and transfers – that’s all a distraction but we’ve been recruiting guys to build an identity around the key players here who want to wear the purple of Leeds Force and are proud to represent this city.
“There has to be universal praise for every player at Leeds Force – guys like Eric Curth, Chris De Sousa and Aidan Appleyard have shown so much heart and that tenacity is pivotal to our chances of achieving success this season.”
Leeds head north of the border for the second and final time this season, hoping to exact some revenge on Glasgow Rocks following Force’s 54-point drubbing in December.
Nelson added: “There’s a collective appetite to go up there and improve on our previous performance at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow are an excellent team but we’re desperate to give a good account of ourselves.”
Meanwhile Force have completed the permanent signing of guard Adrian Kuyinu.