After a long tough road trip last weekend, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle are back on the road today although going in the complete opposite direction. This time it’s Glasgow and the renewing of a rivalry that The Eagles have owned in recent times, writes Jeff King.
It was back on April Fools’ Day 2012 when Newcastle last lost to Glasgow at Kelvin Hall, a run spanning 21 games across all competitions and whilst the theory is that all good things must come to an end, it’ll be disappointing for Head Coach Fab Flournoy and his players if that should occur tonight.
Especially as the back-end of the long weekend at Bristol and Plymouth saw The Eagles’ 100% record go to a fired-up and determined Raiders outfit. Newcastle are desperate not to lose two on the bounce and get the win that will maintain their position at the top of The BBL.
Both Zarko Jukic who returns from International duty with Denmark and Kai Williams who missed the Plymouth game through injury should return to Newcastle’s starting line-up in Glasgow which will mean it’ll be back to the bench for Croatian forward Jure Gunjina who started both games last weekend in Jukic’s place.
Gunjina who is averaging a respectable 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game so far, this season began his preview of tonight’s game by looking back at last weekend’s matches.
“It was a tough weekend, especially at Plymouth where we missed our two regular starters Zarko and Kai. It was a tough mission going in to two games in two days and with such a long trip. All the factors on the side influenced us in playing well.”
“Plymouth played really good and responded very well to our plays and kind of took the best out of us and deserved their win.”
“It was good for me to start two games, but I always think I could have done better no matter what I do. I just try to do the best I can in whatever position the coach puts me in whether that’s starting or from the bench. I could have responded way better in the second game when it was needed.”
“In the first game it didn’t matter so much because we were up nearly 30 points but in that second game we as a team didn’t play well either, so I guess that comes from the start, so I was disappointed about the way that one went and hopefully that will change tonight.”
It’s likely that Gunjina will drop back down to the bench tonight, a situation he’s expecting and is ready for and he also knows it’s another big test for his side tonight in the season-long quest for honours.
“I’ll probably be back on the bench but that doesn’t influence my mentality. I’ll be ready to do whatever I can and give 100% to help the time when I’m called upon. When you’re called-up you have to be ready.”
“It’s a big game and obviously there’s a big rivalry between these two sides. We’ve already beaten them at home, so they’ll be ready for us. We must make sure we’re ready to match them. Hopefully we can bounce back and get the win.”
“Our goal is to win the league and we’ve got other contenders trying to catch us including Leicester who have only lost once and who we play at home in a couple of weeks. We need to start another run to get us ready for that game as well and that has to start tonight against Glasgow.”