Respect opponents… THEN beat them: Jeff Jones takes Manchester Giants down south for Surrey United test

By Alex Rea

A stretched Manchester Giants squad make the trip to Surrey United tomorrow in a bid for their second win on the road this season.

Jeff Jones’ men sit third from bottom and are in desperate need of a result after successive defeats to Plymouth and league-leaders Worcester.

Despite cruising to a comfortable 102-60 win at Wright Robinson earlier in the season, the veteran American coach insists his team will not exhibit complacency against their winless opponents.

“Surrey have added a couple of players but it is like any game in this league, if you don’t go into the match respecting your opponent you won’t win,” he said following the 95-80 defeat against Worcester.

The Giants have struggled in recent weeks without Callum Jones and Mike Bernard available.

But key stars Rob Marsden and James Jones return tomorrow after the pair shrugged of injuries suffered in the clash with Worcester to boost the already threadbare squad.

 Jones added: “We had Rob and James both take knocks on Sunday and it just emphasises how short we are at the moment.

“Other than that, my guys have been excellent and have been busting their backsides to keep us close in games.

“Hopefully they will get the results they deserve.”

David Aliu continued his impressive form with a stunning 35 points last weekend and United are all too aware of the threat the forward carries.

Surrey centre Ceslovas Kucinskas is adamant the battle inside could be vital in the makeup of this game and has offered a stern warning to his side’s defence.

“Last time we played them they scored a lot of points inside,” the 25-year-old Lithuanian said.

“We have to come out aggressive and play good defence and start controlling the game from the tip-off.

“We keep struggling on defence, we allow our opponents to score too easily and a lot of the time we don’t get back to protect our end of the court.

“We lost to Durham because of their fast breaks in the third quarter and us not coming back to defend.”

United sit rock bottom of the BBL division and remain without a solitary point this season.

Jack Majewski’s side will have the opportunity to buck the worrying trend this evening when they take on Sheffield but the coach believes his side will need to significantly improve to take anything from the Giants.

“Manchester are such a conundrum for us, they are a team different to all the others as they don’t have one superstar but a well-rounded team,” he said.

“We had a terrible game last time we played them. If you leave them open, they shoot very well.

“We need to do a much, much better job of defending their guards.”

Image courtesy of Jack Hinds, with thanks.

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