Leeds Force head coach Danny Nelson insists his new-look roster have the heart and determination needed to challenge the league’s biggest threats in the final few months of the 2017/18 BBL campaign.
Despite having only seven players available for last week’s trip north of the border to face title-battlers Glasgow Rocks, the spirited Force fought bravely to register their third-highest offensive tally of the season of 91 points – enough to earn Leeds plenty of praise from proud play-caller Nelson.
“The tenacity of our players is remarkable, we were under-manned against Glasgow but the whole team executed our game plan tremendously well,” Nelson said.
“We fought bravely in difficult circumstances, and I’m proud of how they performed on the night.”
A turbulent period of transition has seen a number of players depart Leeds’ ranks in recent weeks – including American duo Tavarion Nix and Tre Bennett – but Nelson believes the players remaining have their eyes on success and not the exit door.
“A few guys have moved on recently, but we now have a nucleus of players who are committed to Leeds Force and are willing to put the team before themselves,” said Nelson.
“They’ve shown they want to compete in every minute of the game regardless of the score, and they’re desperate to help unleash this club’s true potential in the BBL.
“We have a long-term project in place, and every player must be proud to represent the Leeds community if we’re to achieve the kind of success we’re targeting in the future.
“There’s a better team culture surrounding Leeds Force right now, and that uplifting sense of positivity and progress has revitalised our performances in recent weeks.”
Force return home to host the top-five chasing London Lions tomorrow (4pm), who charge into the fixture buoyed by the recent appointment of BBL veteran coach Vince Macaulay – and Nelson is hopeful that Leeds can silence London’s roar by condemning The Lions to a first defeat under Macaulay’s stewardship.
He added: “Taking on a team with a new head coach in place is always difficult, but it’s a challenge we’re relishing and we’re determined to offer a stern test to a team with some extremely talented players at their disposal.
“London are a team brimming with quality, but we’re ready to take on their threat and hopefully battle like we did in front of our fans against Bristol.”