Brandon Peel insists Newcastle Eagles will be playoff ready after warning the club’s BBL rivals to ignore the men in black at their peril.
The bullish former London Lion is targeting a momentum-building 10-game finish to the club’s regular season with one more major trophy on the line.
And Peel insisted now is not the time for ‘doom and gloom’ as Newcastle prepare to host Manchester Giants in front of the Sky Sports cameras this Friday.
“A top four finish is still our target and with 10 league games to go that has to be our goal,” said the US forward.
“It’s been an up and down year so far but there’s still plenty of time to build momentum heading into the playoffs.
“There’s no reason for anyone to be down on us and there’s no need for any doom and gloom.
“As far as we’re concerned it’s all to play for and we’re more than confident we can take that top four spot.”
If Peel feels time is on Newcastle’s side then he conceded the Eagles must overcome a tendency to take mistakes to heart.
Ian MacLeod’s men are more than capable of building game-winning leads but maintaining that advantage down the stretch is still a struggle.
And Peel agreed that dwelling on individual errors is denting the ambition of a talented roster yet to realise its true potential.
“Coach talks about us seeing things go wrong and then allowing those errors to snowball into a bigger problem,” he added.
“When things don’t go our way we have to stop, refocus and remember what works well for us.
“It’s just a matter of remaining confident and staying in control once we’ve established a winning position.
“We’ve tasted success against Manchester at the Vertu Motors Arena already this season and I’m convinced Friday will be a good result for us.”
Peel added four assists to his double double of 18 points and 12 rebounds when the Giants forced overtime on Tyneside in January.
That Newcastle ran out 113-111 winners that night proved MacLeod’s men have the ability and nous to close out a tough game under pressure.
But last Friday’s disappointing defeat at the hands of a resurgent Plymouth showed the other side of a team still chasing invaluable consistency.
“For the most part we stuck to the gameplan against the Patriots but in the final few minutes we struggled to make a play at both ends of the court,” admitted Peel.
“We’ve talked about what we did wrong but also focused on what we did right.
“There were positives against Plymouth and we can’t forget that.”
A 40-point blast from Tyrik Armstrong ensured Manchester pushed Newcastle all the way when the two teams last locked horns on Tyneside.
But Peel argued the Giants present a collective threat greater than that posed by any one player.
“Manchester play team orientated basketball and that’s what makes them so difficult to play against,” he added.
“The Giants have depth and versatility and that’s what makes them a dangerous opponent.
“Of course, Dan Clark has made a big difference to them this season.
“He’s missed the last couple of games through injury but we need to prepare for him being back.
“If he plays then he’s super important to Manchester as a big body and someone who’s a real threat in the paint.”
Newcastle host the Giants from 7.30pm on Friday. For tickets visit boxoffice.newcastle-eagles.com