Fabulous Flournoy will hand late fitness tests to star forwards Victor Moses and Darius Defoe ahead of Friday’s crunch clash against fierce rivals Sheffield Sharks.

But Newcastle Eagles’ veteran coach will take no chances on two key players with this season’s playoffs the clear priority.

Both Moses and Defoe limped out of Sunday’s loss against London Lions with ankle injuries.


And with Sheffield’s visit to the Eagles Community Arena just 72 hours away, a frank Flournoy admitted Newcastle are playing a waiting game.

“We’re taking it day by day with both players,” said the experienced New Yorker.

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“Both Victor and Darius will seek further advice once the swelling has gone down but losing the pair of them last weekend was difficult.


“As coach I have to try and find the positives. And our bench players played key minutes against London’s very best players – that will help their confidence and development this season and next.”

Although neither Kyle Williams nor Eddie Matthew are like-for-like replacements for the sidelined Moses and Defoe, the energetic duo both impressed against champions-in-waiting London.

And Flournoy is likely to use two of the club’s emerging stars more frequently as the clock ticks down on the regular season – and towards the playoffs.

Matthew claimed 10 points in 10 minutes in the capital as he stepped in to fill the void created by a fouled-out Jeremy Smith.


And Williams added an impressive six assists to his 13 points as he sought to cement a starting five spot.

“It was good to see both of those players put in a situation where they were up against quality opposition in front of a big crowd,” added Flournoy.

“I want guys like Eddie and Kyle to develop – I wouldn’t have brought them here otherwise.”

Flournoy and his coaching staff will have to tweak their tactics against the Sharks if both Moses and Defoe fail to suit up on Friday.

Brothers Kai and Jamal Williams will be forced to play a more prominent role in the paint – a move that will immediately negate the former’s three-point threat.

And Flournoy will be required to spend more time on the court than off it as Newcastle’s player-coach attempts to pace a mouthwatering top six clash.

The 45-year-old played 25 minutes in London and just shy of half an hour against Manchester Giants 48 hours earlier.

But the veteran forward looks fitter and hungrier than many players half his age heading towards the business end of yet another BBL campaign.

“As a player I still get excited about the prospect of playoff basketball,” he added. “Everything is on the line and there’s such a big prize up for grabs.

“As a coach it’s a slightly different feeling. I have to think about injuries, schedules and player mindsets but I can’t afford to look too far ahead.

“For now I have to focus my own mind – and those of the players – on a strong finish to the regular season and that starts with Sheffield on Friday.”