Ian MacLeod will not allow complacency to creep into a roster riding high, following a lightning start to the post-Fabulous Flournoy era.

On the day he departed Tyneside, Newcastle’s former coach insisted the new-look Eagles had the potential to make a powerful impact this season.

And that bold prediction rang true following blistering back-to-back BBL Cup wins against Cheshire Phoenix and Glasgow Rocks last weekend.


“I’m delighted with the start,” said interim head coach MacLeod as he prepared for tonight’s rematch against the Rocks at the Eagles Community Arena.

“But we are aware that it’s only two games and we are by no means where we want to be just yet.

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“There’s so much more to work on and it’s important that we don’t rest on our laurels. Complacency lurks in the shadow of success.”


Given the circumstances of Newcastle’s 100 per cent start to the season, MacLeod’s biggest concern must be how to integrate as many as five new faces into a red-hot rotation.

That the Eagles’ opening weekend victories were achieved against a backdrop of injuries and restrictive red tape made both wins extra special.

And MacLeod admitted that triumphing in the face of adversity tastes even sweeter.

“We don’t want to avoid adversity,” he added. “We want to be able to react positively in the face of a challenge.


“That’s when we will grow most as a team – during those periods of adversity.

“And we grew more in the game against Glasgow than we did against Cheshire, simply because of the uphill struggle we faced.

“It was our first away game in front of a noisy arena crowd. Tip-off was delayed by 10 minutes and we only had seven players due to the injuries and registration issues.

“In many ways it was the perfect storm – everything was against us.

“But we didn’t go into that game thinking of how we would make our excuses. We took on the challenge, fought hard and dug deep. It was particularly nice to get a win on the road in that environment.”

MacLeod revealed that former Surrey swingman Nick Schlitzer is free to face Glasgow after his registration was confirmed. And emerging star Themba Yabantu is back in contention following his recovery from injury.

“As far as the other guys are concerned, we are confident that Rodney Glasgow’s documentation will be finalised in the near future and Sauveur Kande is in the process of renewing his passport.

“Sade Aded Hussein isn’t far away following his pre-season injury and he’s itching to get back into the action.”

Hussein picked up a knee injury within eight minutes of his Newcastle debut earlier this month. But the Frenchman has remained positive despite being unable to suit up alongside his in-form team-mates.

“Anyone who’s seen Sade on the bench will know that he’s the first person to encourage his team-mates and keep their spirits up,” added MacLeod. “He’s mentally very strong and so he hasn’t allowed himself to feel down about the injury.

“He’s always communicating with the other guys and he’s very much part of the team. Of course he’s a competitor and he wants to be back on court but he’s already been a real asset to us – even without the ball in his hands.”

Tonight’s BBL Cup North Group clash tips off at 7.30pm. Tickets are still available from our box office: