Sport Central, 7.30pm Friday 19 February
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and Sheffield Sharks must overcome a busy schedule and bruised bodies before they can worry about each other.
Eagles were down to just six active players as they beat Worcester Wolves in their BBL Trophy Semi-Final second leg on Sunday, missing Darius Defoe, Scott Martin and Stu Thomson.
Sharks, meanwhile, are in the middle of their busiest stretch of the season and will go into this important league clash off the back of their own BBL Trophy Semi-Final double-header against Leicester Riders, culminating on Wednesday.
Last time they met:
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 87 Sheffield Sharks 78 (BBL Championship, Sport Central, 13 November 2015)
* Sharks’ last victory against Eagles was a 94-92 BBL Championship success in February 2014
* Joe Chapman needs two more assists to reach 500 in BBL Championship play
* Eagles (94.45 points-per-game) and Sharks (84.9) are ranked first and second in the BBL in scoring
What they say:
Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy: “Everyone is on a day-to-day schedule.
“Darius [Defoe] is on a week-to-week. He had a hamstring injury. It should have been seven to 10 days but he’s already served that and it’s now about strengthening and easing himself back into it.
“Scott Martin’s back went out on him and he’ll be back but that’s pretty much where it’s at.
“Stu Thomson suffered an ankle injury against Bristol.
“It’s difficult for us (to practice). That hurt us after the Cup Final, not being to practice and prepare going into the Worcester game.”
Sharks forward Mike Tuck: “This has been by far our busiest and most testing week of the season so far. Away in Worcester, two legs of the Trophy Semi-Final against a tough Leicester team, and then an away weekend up and then down the country in Newcastle and Surrey.
“First up will be Newcastle at their gym. Always a tough place to play, they have great fans, great atmosphere, and a solid team. We haven’t seen them in a while so it will be good to match up against them again while we are really coming together as a team.
“They are still at the top of table and have this year’s BBL Cup under their belt so it will be a good test for us.”