Comeback king Will Neighbour set his sights on downing former club Plymouth City Patriots before insisting he’s only just getting started.

Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles face their longest trip of the season just 72 hours after completing another famous European win.

But head coach Marc Steutel was buoyed by the seemingly seamless return to action of experienced centre Neighbour.

“It felt good to be back out there,” he admitted, after sinking 13 points in just 14 minutes against Zastal Zielona Gora. “But it’s still a work in progress and there’s plenty more to come.

“I’ve been watching from the sidelines for a while now and so it was good to get back with the guys.

“Maybe it looked like I was getting straight back to business but — believe me — there are still a lot of things to work on.”

Neighbour helped keep the aggressive Poles at bay during a tight second quarter on Tuesday — before the hosts streaked to an 86-80 win.

The margin of victory reflected a late fourth quarter surge from the Poles as they sought to keep their European North Basketball League (ENBL) campaign alive.

Neighbour returned to the court for our Eagles last night with a crucial impact on the result right from the word go. (Photos: Gary Forster)

But in truth Newcastle put the game to bed with a blistering display of third quarter firepower to lead by as many as 17 points.

And a fifth win in seven ENBL games secured a quarter-final berth against Denmark’s Bakken Bears as the Eagles finished third in Group B.

“It was a good game to be involved in,” added Neighbour. “I’ve been working really hard behind closed doors and that work’s paying off.

“I’ve been working round the clock in practice and with Vicky [Percy, head physiotherapist].

“Marc’s been doing as much as he can for me on the floor and Adam [Hall, assistant coach] has been a huge help.

“But with our schedule it’s been tough as we haven’t had much time to practice as a group in between games.

“I’ve done as much game-live work as possible when the time’s allowed. But that’s what the Gora match was — really going live for the first time in two months. It felt like all of the work was worthwhile.”

Steutel was able to select from a full roster for the first time this season as Newcastle wrapped up the ENBL regular season.

But the GB boss — who named Josh Ward-Hibbert in his Eurobasket training squad on Tuesday — chose to rest Darius Defoe and limit key man Larry Austin Jr to just seven minutes.

Both players are expected to be involved at the Pats and Neighbour can’t wait to step up his return to full fitness at a noisy Pavilions.

Will Neighbour returned back from injury to face Zastal Zielona Gora. (Photos: Gary Forster)

“It’s another big one on Friday,” he added. “Our philosophy is that the next game is the most important game.

“Now our focus is on the Pats and on getting that win. It’s all about finding a way to play our best basketball in what’s a traditionally tough place to win.

“We’re in the mix for the top four and of course we want to stay there. We should be moving towards a position where we’re playing our best basketball now.

“We’ve been working up to this point for some time and the aim is to become better and better. It’s all about being the best we can be every night now.”

Neighbour knows better than most that a packed-out Pavilions on a Friday night is a frightening prospect for any team.

Three seasons with Plymouth taught the well-travelled centre that the hosts aim to put their rivals on the back foot from the tip.

But Neighbour added: “This Eagles team’s been through it all this season so these guys know what’s needed on Friday.

“This group of players are true professionals — they know how to handle a tough road trip.

“We’ve had some tough back to backs all season and come through them so we’ll be fine.”

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