by Andrew McDonnell
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle head coach Fab Flournoy MBE wants the team to focus on themselves because concentrating on what other teams are doing would be “dangerous”.
The Eagles have four games remaining in the BBL Championship and could secure second spot with a win over the Surrey Scorchers tonight.
Flournoy believes the players should be “relishing” the games between now and the end of the season within a short space of time.
He said: “With the games that we have coming up thick and fast in a short period of time, it’s going to be tough, but equally it is going to be good.
“For me, not as a coach, speaking as a player, it’s supposed to be fun. This is why we do it, this is why we play and why we compete.
“We have a situation here where we get to go out and prove whether or not we can or we can’t and that’s the fun of it all.
“That’s what I’m trying to get the guys to relish and understand and to go into this situation confident and going into these games feeling good about ourselves.”
The head coach thinks it is more about how the Eagles, who face league-leaders Leicester Riders twice in three days next week, are playing going into the playoffs rather than the results.
“With four games in nine days ahead, that’s a game almost every other day,” Flournoy added. “We want to make sure we get a good stride.
“We want to make sure we a good run and potentially all the teams that we’re playing are going to be the teams that we’re going to be facing in the playoffs.
“We want to be able to put our best foot forward and we want to know where we stand now and not as opposed to the team that we were or the team that they were.”
Newcastle have had the better of Surrey in their two previous games this season, both at Sport Central, but the Scorchers have a lot to play for sitting in ninth.
Flournoy said: “It’s a massive game for us. It’s a huge game for them because they’re playing for their playoff spot, everyone is playing for something.
“The top eight teams definitely and the top nine or ten teams are playing for something and right now, it’s important that you enter the playoffs playing well.
“Equally, that will serve you well on your road trying to get to the O2 and trying to get to the final.”
The Eagles have lost all five games on the road since the BBL Cup win back in January, and their head coach is eager for his team to turn their fortunes around against Surrey.
He continued: “We haven’t been playing well on the road and at some point in time, in the playoffs, we’re going to be heading down south to face one of these southern teams.
“It’d be good for us to use this as experience for the playoffs and see what it is going to take to get a win in a playoff situation.”
Tip-off at Surrey Sports Park is at 7:00pm.