Danny Nelson insists lowly Leeds Force can’t feel sorry for themselves, and must continue fighting to snap their long losing streak in this weekend’s home double-header against Surrey Scorchers tonight (7.30pm) and table-toppers Leicester Riders on Sunday (4pm).
A spirited first-half effort in the West Midlands against recent BBL Cup finalists Worcester Wolves last week wasn’t enough for Nelson’s Force to pick up a first road win of the campaign, instead slipping to an 18th consecutive defeat. Nelson insists his battle-hardened Force must be up for the fight in front of their home crowd against play-off-chasing Scorchers – or risk another drubbing on their own court.
“We can challenge Surrey if we stick to our game plan, but if we don’t keep their athleticism in check, they’ll run wild so it’s another huge test we’re ready to face defensively,” Nelson said.
“As much as we enjoy travelling across the country, it’s great to be at home in front of our loyal support – it’s important that our guys understand who they’re playing for and representing every night out on the court.”
With little respite between fixtures, Leeds end their weekend with the intimidating task of hosting runaway league leaders and newly-crowned BBL Trophy winners Leicester Riders – and a determined Nelson believes that his Force figures must leave everything on the floor if they’re to be in with a chance of registering the shock result of the season.
“Leicester are an excellent team, we might not match them man for man, but if we give our all there’s no reason why we can’t compete.
“It’ll be a daunting task, but one we’re hoping to rise to – it’s very hard to overcome their depth, so we’ll have to outmatch them in heart and hustle if we want to take the game to them.”
With Force’s nightmarish season drawing to a close, the Irishman still expects his promising crop of young talent to keep their foot on the gas pedal and give their all in the games that remain.
Nelson said: “Plenty of players have blossomed for Leeds Force this campaign despite our results, it’s a step up to play at BBL level, and they’ve risen to the occasion.
“It’s been a difficult year for them, but there’s no point in feeling sorry for ourselves – we have to take the positives from each game and keep going.”