Leeds Force head coach Danny Nelson is demanding an improved effort from his struggling side in tonight’s BBL Yorkshire derby clash against Sheffield Sharks at Carnegie Sports Arena.
A thumping defeat at the hands of basement-battling Manchester Giants last week leaves Force cast off at the foot of the BBL standings, and Leeds play-caller Nelson pulled no punches in his assessment of his team’s performance at Trafford Sportsdome.
“Manchester wanted it more than us, they physically out-matched us and never gave in from the first buzzer to the last,” Nelson said.
“There’s no excuses – we weren’t good enough and our performance was not acceptable. We have to hold our hands up, be honest and admit our mistakes before we can move forward.
“Last week’s defeat was frustrating for everyone, and it’s up to us to respond – the only way to deal with it is to keep improving and focus on fixing our mistakes.”
Bragging rights in tonight’s hotly-anticipated duel extend beyond the Yorkshire divide, with a battle of the brothers also set to be decided.
Leeds’ George Brownell squares off against sibling Eddy for the first time, with the former missing October’s previous meeting between the teams through injury.
With Brownell having made over 100 BBL appearances for Sheffield in five seasons before signing with Force last summer – playing alongside brother Eddy in each of the five campaigns – Nelson expects it to be a tantalising affair and an enjoyable evening for the pairing.
“There’s always that extra emotional element when rival teams collide, especially with two brothers on each team. Having three brothers myself, I know that it can get competitive!
“I’m sure there’ll be that extra motivation for George to play well against Eddy and vice versa, it’ll certainly be an exciting occasion for them both.”
Despite taking on a Sheffield team buoyed by clinching a BBL Trophy final spot last week, a resolute Nelson insists no opponent is too big or too strong for a Leeds side still searching for a second win of a frustrating campaign.
Nelson said: “We’re excited to take on our local rivals tonight, but it doesn’t really matter who Leeds Force play right now – we’re not afraid of anyone and we just want to win, that’s our sole aim at the minute.
“This team is incredibly resilient, we’re surviving and there’s such strong character amongst this group of players.
“We have foundations in place, now it’s about putting it all together and improving every week.”