Bring it on: Manchester Giants look to extend unbeaten home form against old enemy Sheffield

By Alex Rea 

Hard to beat and in form on their home court, the Manchester Giants will be in a confident mood when old rivals Sheffield visit the Wright Robinson on Sunday evening.

After a disappointing away defeat against Newcastle Eagles last Friday, Jeff Jones’ side quickly regrouped to completely outmanoeuvre and outclass a sorry Surrey United two days later.

The victory not only helped the Giants climb up to eighth in the ladder but also brought about their third straight win at home but Jones is wary of the physical presence the Sharks possess coming into the game this weekend.

“We need to control the tempo and we have to match their physical style,” he said after David Aliu and Stefan Gill inspired an emphatic 102-60 victory against United.

“I think, now that he is just concentrating on coaching, Atiba Lyons has them playing much more consistently and to a style that really fits their personnel.

“It will be a tough game but we are looking forward to the challenge.”

The Giants have scalped Birmingham, Plymouth and Surrey during the hot streak at the Wright Robinson, although title challengers Sheffield represent a much tougher challenge.

However, the blistering form of both Gill and Aliu – both chipped in with 27 and 26 respectively against United as the Manchester outfit reached the 100 point mark for third time in their last three home games – is sure to give the hosts a good chance of grabbing the points.

A flat performance against the Sharks in their early-season clash will give Jones’ men fresh impetus to record the win especially with Sharks losing last weekend.

Sharks coach Lyons has downplayed the significance of their crushing defeat against the London Lions as the loss knocked them off top spot in the BBL and admitted he admires this weekend’s opponents.

“I know Manchester really like to spread the floor with their shooters and push the tempo on offence,” he said after the 78-55 defeat away to the Lions.

“We will need to combat that and try to knock them out of rhythm.

“I say this every time this early in the season, on more than one occasion in my career we have sat in first place all season and finished second at the end.

“It is irrelevant being first if that’s not where you finish. This season I see four or five teams that will be hanging around for number one I just hope we are one of them.”

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Image courtesy of Jack Hinds, with thanks.

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