Bristol Flyers attempt to re-launch their BBL Championship campaign this weekend following a fierce run of fixtures.
After overcoming Plymouth Raiders in their opener, Flyers faced a team from the League’s current top five in each of the next six games.
That stretch contributed to a slide down the standings. But having learned from what the best have to offer, Bristol are confident heading into a key weekend, which sees them face the two teams closest to them.
Andreas Kapoulas’s side host Surrey Scorchers on Friday before travelling to Manchester Giants on Sunday.
“Not the start we were hoping for,” said Flyers forward Mike Vigor. “We’ve had a solid stretch of tough games, possibly the toughest games we will incur this season.
“It’s definitely given us an opportunity to assess our strengths and weaknesses as a team at such an early stage of the season. I’m feeling positive that we are ready to take on the season stronger after getting these games out of the way.”
He added: “It’s a massive weekend for us as a team. We have made big steps forward in these last two weeks so two wins is a must. Starting with Friday night, it’s all about playing together offensively and defensively for 40 minutes. I believe if we do that the results will take care of themselves.”
Also on Friday, Worcester Wolves appear set to hand a debut to new signing Maurice Walker when they take on Manchester Giants, who are coming off their first win of the season.
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle face DBL Sharks Sheffield on Friday in the first of a Yorkshire double, as they visit Leeds Force on Sunday.
Force have never beaten Eagles in the BBL and are desperate to prove they can battle with the top teams as they continue their progression.
“The one thing we are bringing to this match-up is a lack of fear,” said Force center Clayfell Harris.
“We are all hungry to show the teams like this and the league that we can compete with the best. We know it’ll be a tough challenge but we’ve had a lot of preparation and everyone on the team is ready to step up to the plate.”
Harris added: “We have no egos on the team and everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to help this team progress. Come later in the season I believe we could be a surprisingly dangerous team to play against.
“We’ve also been working on ways to stay positive on the floor when things don’t always go our way and this is something that is critical for us, especially in late-game situations.”
Sunday’s action throws up one of the season’s most exciting fixtures so far, with third-placed Glasgow Rocks meeting leaders Leicester Riders.
Rocks star point guard Neil Watson goes up against his former side, who lost their first game of the season last weekend, while the Scottish club are riding an eight-game win streak.
Plymouth Raiders welcome Wolves on Sunday too as both teams seek to create that positive momentum while Cheshire Phoenix return to action against Sharks at Cheshire Oaks Arena.