Noelia Cacheiro admits it’s now or never for Newcastle as the Eagles bid to resurrect their playoff dream across the Easter weekend.
Two games in 24 hours will determine the club’s top eight fate as the women in black host Nottingham Wildcats and Essex Rebels at the Vertu Motors Arena.
And Cacheiro is calling for one final push as Newcastle attempt to reel in the Wildcats and local rivals Durham Palatinates in the battle for the league’s final playoff place.
“I know I’m asking a lot of my players to get through two games in two days when we’re so short handed,” said Newcastle’s playcaller.
“But it’s what we need. We have to win these games with what we have and my players know that.
“Right now, we’re giving it everything that we’ve got to try and get into that top eight.
“Even when we’re losing it feels like we’re winning because we’re in this together and we’re playing for each other.
“We’re confident that we can win both games this weekend but at the same time we have to be respectful to our opponents.
“Nottingham have just beaten Sevenoaks and Essex beat us down at their place earlier this year.
“But that was a game we felt we could have won and we feel the same this weekend.”
Nottingham face Newcastle in today’s high noon showdown before Essex visit the Vertu Motors Arena (4pm tip) tomorrow.
And in-form captain Marina Fernandez will be key to the Tynesiders’ success as the Spaniard enjoys her best run of form in an Eagles’ vest.
“Marina has been setting an example on and off the court for a long time now,” added Cacheiro.
“She’s been the most consistent player since I got here and she’s been working really hard to improve every aspect of her game.
“Marina’s been putting in the work outside of basketball to ensure she’s in the best shape possible for our run in.
“She’s been focusing on what she sees as her weaknesses and from my perspective she’s a very coachable player.
“Marina’s playing at the level she’s practicing at and she’s invaluable to what we’re trying to achieve.
“She’s a player that we want to bring back next season.”
Nottingham face Newcastle hot on the heels of last night’s clash against the Palatinates with both teams in control of their own destinies in a punishing playoff battle.
But an Eagles win this afternoon would keep Cacheiro’s team within touching distance of the top eight and extend the club’s campaign into the final week of the regular season.
Dora Cipcic should be in a position to play more minutes after easing her way back into WBBL action at Leicester on Monday.
But Ruth Thornley is unavailable this weekend and Cacheiro will make a late call on Gerda Morkunaite after the Lithuanian missed practice through illness this week.
“Dora is feeling her way back into things and she seems to be responding well,” added Newcastle’s coach.
“Those minutes against Leicester should stand her in good stead for this weekend.
“Playing two games in two days with five or six players is going to be tough so the more bodies we have this weekend the better.”
Tickets for the game are available to purchase in advance on the box office and on the door.