Leeds Force head coach Danny Nelson sees tomorrow’s clash with beaten BBL Cup finalists Worcester Wolves at Carnegie Sports Arena (4pm) as a chance to showcase his side’s continued improvements over recent weeks, as Force look to earn a priceless second win of the campaign ahead of next week’s vital match-up with Manchester Giants.
Worcester – who comfortably swept to a 56-point drubbing of Force in December’s reverse fixture – head north to challenge Leeds off the back of a disastrous Cup Final defeat against underdogs Cheshire Phoenix at Arena Birmingham last weekend – and Force play-caller Nelson is hopeful his challengers can capitalise on Wolves’ recent setback.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of cup finals myself, and I’ve experienced the effects of both wins and losses in finals,” Nelson said.
“Defeats can be very deflating, they can hurt your motivation but I’m sure they’ll be confident since they beat us so handily last time we played them. They’ll be hungry to prove themselves, and we’ll have to be at our best to combat what they bring to the court.”
Despite the Wolves charging into tomorrow’s fixture as one of the fiercest threats in British basketball, Nelson sees no reason why Leeds can’t offer up a fight against their play-off chasing opponents.
Nelson said: “I’m confident we can challenge – the scoreline against Worcester in December doesn’t reflect where we are now as a team. It was a very transitional period, and we were going through a lot both on and off the court.
“We’ve got consistency at the moment, there’s been time for the guys to learn how to play together and gel as a unit. There’s been a lot of transfers this season, but this is definitely the calmest period of the campaign we’ve had so far which has been really beneficial to us as a team.”
A gradual upturn in performances has seen the Leeds community rally around the tenacious Force in recent weeks, with the Irishman offering glowing appraisal of the loyal Force fanbase. He added: “Our fan numbers are rising steadily every week, which has given us a huge boost – the tremendous crowds have given our players that extra motivation to play for Leeds and represent this city and the community with great pride.”