Allen Payne believes a better start and home support will help Sheffield Sharks avenge their early season defeat when they host Newcastle Eagles on Friday.

Sharks were beaten to the BBL Championship title by Eagles last term and were edged again as the sides met at Sport Central last month.

But Payne is confident of ending the reigning champions’ six-game winning streak.

“We always feel better at playing home,” said Payne.

“Shark Nation is the best and we couldn’t ask for more passionate fans. Aside from that, I’m sure Atiba will critique the first game against Newcastle and make the proper adjustments.

“If we can get off to a better start in the first quarter, then we should be able to hold our own.”

Sharks more than held their own in last week’s BBL Cup quarter-final against Cheshire Phoenix.

The Steel City club closed on an 11-3 run to book their place in the final four – where they will meet Eagles over two legs.

Sharks have been less convincing in league action, with three wins from their first five games.

But after Payne, and Nick Lewis, started Friday’s game from the bench before going on to combine for 40 points, it appears coach Atiba Lyons is getting ever-closer to that winning formula.

Payne added: “Nick and I just trust in Atiba’s gameplan.

“Whatever he needs us to do, we do our best to fulfil that role. Right now that role is coming off the bench and providing a spark. It seems to be working well for all of us early on.”

Last time they met:

Newcastle Eagles 95 Sheffield Sharks 84 (BBL Championship, Sport Central, 10/10/2014)

What they say:

Eagles coach Fab Flournoy: “We are still miles away from where we need to be. We have played very well in spurts but have also at times lost our cohesion at both ends. We are still fine-tuning various combinations while seeking to be far more consistent.

“Sheffield are obviously very similar to last year’s team. They have added Allen Payne, who has really impressed since the beginning of the season, but they are still very much a systematic well coached team with an extremely heady point guard.”