With a three-game advantage in the loss column and after beating Leicester Riders last weekend for the second week in a row, there is a lot of talk around the league that the Championship title is good as won for Esh Group Eagles Newcastle.
But up on Tyneside, there’s no such talk. The Eagles know there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“You’d be naive to think the season was over in February with 12 games still to play,” said Eagles’ Andy Thomson.
“We’re not taking anything for granted. In terms of the season, the win at Leicester was just another step closer to our target of winning the league. Yes, it’s for us to lose as we’ve put ourselves in a good position at present, but that can all change over a weekend and looking ahead in our schedule we have some tough teams to play.”
“There are teams that might not be challenging for the title but fighting for a good draw in the play-offs. So we can’t rest, but push on and prepare for the next team.”
London Lions, who visit on Friday evening, are one such team looking to finish as high as they can and Thomson is expecting a battle at Sport Central.
“To beat the Lions we will have to follow the scouting report that Fab Flournoy, [assistant coaches] Ian Macleod and Dave Forrester set out. The Lions had recent success in getting to the semi-final of the Trophy, which has given them momentum coming into this game.”
Thomson added, “That team was put together to win trophies so they have talent on the team. We will have to match the energy that they bring and combat that with smart defence on the likes of Drew Sullivan, Zaire Taylor and Rod Brown. If we can do that it gives us a good chance, but if we don’t, this could potentially be a costly missed opportunity.”
Last time they met:
London Lions 82 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 99 (BBL Championship, Copper Box Arena, 14/12/14)
What they say:
Lions’ coach Vince Macaulay: “I believe it will be a challenge on Friday but we have a chance. We know they have firepower everywhere and play a high tempo. We will match that and look to impose ourselves, especially inside.”