An all-Glasgow starting five helped Scotland overcome fierce rivals England in the opening contest of the tournament in Australia yesterday, and Leeds play-caller Nelson is expecting his struggling squad to cash in on their chance to take on a Rocks roster absent of six star players.
“Glasgow have a weakened roster with players representing their countries at the Commonwealth Games, so we know this a big chance for us to compete,” Nelson said. “They still have plenty of quality available though, and we’ll have to be at our very best to have a chance of taking the win.”
A blunt Nelson pulled no punches in his assessment of Leeds’ recent success attacking the basket, and insists his faltering Force must make every game count with the finishing line of a miserable season firmly in sight.
“We’re atrocious offensively, and that’s had a lasting impact across the season – we have to improve in that area and it’s our number one target for the coming weeks.
“Each game before the end of the season is a huge opportunity for us to build some momentum going into the off-season. Every player on the court has a chance to prove themselves, and they will want to leave a lasting impression before we make decisions on the playing squad going into next year.”
Despite being boosted by a scorching Yorkshire derby performance from new signing Mo Williams, Force play host to Glasgow with only eight available players – a total which includes guard trio George Brownell, Vytautas Kamarunas and captain Isaac Mourier who all carry lower-body injuries.
With the season’s end around the corner, the Irishman hopes Williams’ veteran presence can lead the valiant Force to a win for all their efforts across a difficult year.
Nelson said: “We’re delighted to have Mo, he’s relentlessly positive and a breath of fresh air for us right now and nobody wants to play him – we’re lucky to have him playing here and representing Leeds and the local community.”
Nelson added: “The guys who are still here after everything this season have great character – they’re good players and even better people. They deserve a lot of credit and we hope they’ll be a part of Leeds Force for a long time.”