Leicester Riders v Leeds Force: Willpower of ailing Force heartens coach Nelson

Head coach Danny Nelson is hoping Leeds Force can register a shock upset of British Basketball League high-flyers Leicester Riders at Leicester Arena tonight, WRITES SEB GIGNER.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 29th December 2017, 5:00 am
Danny Nelson, 
Leeds Force head coach
Danny Nelson, Leeds Force head coach

The valiant Force suffered a heavy 44-point defeat against The Riders in the BBL Trophy last time out, condemning Leeds to a fourth consecutive Trophy elimination at the first hurdle.

Despite the loss, Force play-caller Nelson is hoping his side have learned from their hefty defeat over the Christmas period, and targets a close game against the league leaders to bring a positive end to 2017.

“We gave everything we had against Leicester last time out, it was a tough loss, but I was fiercely proud of our effort,” Nelson said.

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“The scoreline might suggest it was an easy win for them, but they had to work hard for every point and it’s our job to make it as difficult as we can once again for our opposition tonight.”

A series of changes to the playing roster over the opening months of the campaign has left a number of players being forced to take on new roles, but Nelson has been pleased with the willpower of his team in difficult circumstances.

“A lot of players have had to step up into unfamiliar roles, and there’s plenty to be proud of regarding our mental toughness and determination after a difficult period for the team.

“We’re all in this together, this team is starting a new chapter but we’re all very excited to be a part of the process – it’s a new project and one we’re desperate to help succeed.

“I’ve coached all around the world, but this is a new type of challenge that I haven’t experienced before, and it’s one I’m massively enjoying so far.”

A disastrous start to the season sees Force rooted to the bottom of the 12-team BBL standings, yet the Irishman believes there’s no reason to give up on Leeds’ play-off aspirations just yet.

“If we can string everything together then we make inroads in this division, we want to win every game and the playoffs are still a realistic target for Leeds Force. There are some teams above us who don’t have a huge lead on us, and we can catch them if we apply ourselves and string together some wins.

“It’s all about finding some momentum.”