EAGLES coach Fab Flournoy has warned his players not to take Birmingham Panthers lightly when the BBL leaders travel to the BBL basement club on Sunday. After a bumpy start to 2008, the Eagles have been in ominous form of late, racking up three huge wins.

They will be looking to improve on that and extend their run when they go into the Panthers clash as overwhelming favourites. Flournoy said: ‘It is a big game, but they all are. We’ll will take them one at a time and not treat any lightly. We want to make sure we do not take our foot off the gas, because no game in this league is a given.’

‘If you do not turn up to play, you will lose. We need to concentrate on being consistent, well prepared and on moving forward. Rob Paternostro is a very experienced guard. Dan Sandell is scoring a lot of points, but the key is that they play well as a team.’

‘They are in a lot of games for long periods, and were neck-and-neck with Guildford during the first half last week. It was the same against Worcester but they just run out of steam. They are probably short of a couple of rotations but they can be a dangerous team.’

Flournoy will be up against his best mates in the game in Nigel Lloyd and Clive Allen. The duo are trying desperately to get the Panthers out of trouble and Lloyd is hoping his side can spring a surprise by pushing the Eagles all the way.

He said: ‘I am told we are going to have a big crowd and I am hoping we can give them a game to enjoy.
“We need it to be competitive but it is tough against the Eagles. Every time we play against Fab he has a great game against us and Lynard Stewart played pretty well against us last time, while Olu Babalola gave us real match-up problems.’

‘Now they have Charles Smith back on form and the new guy Steve Leven playing for them as well. They are not top by a fluke, and we know we have a tough game ahead of us.’

The farcical situation involving Birmingham, who will be playing at their third home venue this season at Telford, is likely to be an embarrassment for Eagles’ managing director Paul Blake, who is the current chairman of the league.

Blake, however, will be buoyed by a crucial new TV deal for the sport.

Speculation is mounting that the BBL will finally secure a deal with Setanta Sports in the next few days to show a number of games between now and the end of the season – starting with the Eagles’ BBL Trophy clash in Plymouth on Sunday, March 2.