Date Time League Season
March 8, 2024 7:30 pm Men's Championship 2023-24

Marc Steutel has quashed all talk of another comfortable win against Manchester on Friday night after warning the Giants can quickly reinvent themselves as giant killers.

Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles return to British Basketball League action, battling it out for a top four regular season finish.

And Steutel’s side take a 3-0 record into their clash with second-bottom Manchester having beaten the Giants with an average winning margin of 15 points across two competitions this season.

But Newcastle’s head coach has clamped down on any semblance of complacency — insisting the Eagles will need to be at their explosive best come tip off tonight.

“Manchester’s record is what it is but we have to look beyond that,” said Steutel. “They have a lot of talent individually, they really do.

“They have guys who are proven in the league and who can score the ball quickly in bunches.

“My players are well aware that I think the Giants are a really dangerous team. Because of their ability we just can’t afford to sleep on them.”

Newcastle’s most recent win against Manchester was on the road last month and a 106-85 victory masked what was a tight affair for long spells.

That the Eagles held their nerve to come away with a vital victory delighted Steutel and he admitted: “We’ve done a good job on them so far.

“But in all three games they’ve challenged us to do our job defensively and that’s what’s underpinned those wins.

“We have to make sure that we have the right mental approach in bringing to life the game plan.

“We need to key in on their main threats and we can’t allow them to influence the game scoring-wise.

“I want us to build a complete 40 minutes — like I know we can — and that should be good enough to get the win.”

Steutel’s toughest challenge right now is distributing those minutes across a full-strength roster stacked with talent.

All 10 senior pros are nearing peak match fitness for the first time this season and with that comes the kind of headache every coach craves.

Steutel is suddenly blessed with an embarrassment of riches following a frustrating spell dealing with injury and illness.

And he added: “It’s one of the difficult things for players but it’s part of the job.

“They understand that we’re in this together and it’s my job to get the best out of the resources I have at my disposal.

“Right now one number might not be called as much as it is in the next game. My guys need to stay locked in and be ready to go, regardless of that.

“I can point to various games this season when players have come into the starting five or come off the bench and given us the spark we needed.

“Every single one of my guys needs to stay ready now that we’ve reached the business end of the season.

“I’m very fortunate that I finally have the flexibility to target certain teams and certain players by mixing things up.

“We can play different ways — even within games — based on the challenge in front of us.

“As far as the players are concerned I’m encouraging complete buy-in and complete trust in what we’re doing over the next two months.”

The Friday night Championship fixture tips off at 7.30pm with remaining tickets available at the box office.