After a two-week break Newcastle Eagles return to on-court action tonight with a huge road game down in Worcester. There is no doubting tonight’s BBL Cup quarter-final clash is the Eagles biggest game of the season so far.
It could also be argued that it is interim Head Coach Ian MacLeod’s biggest game of his coaching career so far with a place in the Cup semi-finals at place. Worcester finished second in the South Group earning the home draw and forcing Newcastle into the long journey.
It’s difficult to assess what two weeks off can do to a side as on the one-hand it gave the players and coaching staff a chance to recharge the batteries but on the other because Newcastle had won two in a row it could halt their momentum.
MacLeod assessed it as follows and certainly gave an insight in to where he thought his team were at and how they would approach the game.
“We’re ok with the break at this point it gives us a chance to review where we are and to get our numbers back to full quota. I am approaching it the same as with all games. We will prepare as we always do, and while it is important one for our season, we must not deviate from how we are now accustomed to preparing.”
“As for the keys to the game, defensively we want to have an aggressive and cohesive performance, where we can create scoring from our defence.”
One of the most intriguing aspects of what is sure to be an exciting and hard-fought contest is that both teams will a big new inside presence in play as they both give debuts to new forwards.
For Wolves it’s a BBL rookie in Amir Williams and for Newcastle CJ Gettys has arrived and plays his first game for the Eagles in his third BBL season. MacLeod feels it won’t make a lot of difference to his plans.
“Not really as we haven’t played them before in this year’s BBL. We will have a new face of our own so really, we are both in the same boat. As for CJ, he’s fully fit and raring to go.”
Often losing a player once the season has started and having to bring a new player in can cause disruption, but MacLeod feels his side have moved on.
“The players are just looking forward to getting back on the floor. CJ arrived on Tuesday and has had a couple of practices with the guys, so a line has been drawn under what went previously. We are what we are right now.”
What the Eagles are is a side still building and still being molded into an identity the new Head Coach wants to establish for the season moving forward. A win tonight in and a place in the BBL Cup semi-finals would be an excellent return for MacLeod and his player’s early season work.
It would also move them in to an important December period where their BBL Championship will also commence and give them a real indication of what the rest of the campaign might hold.
Tickets for our December and January home games are on sale now: