Coventry Crusaders are looking to begin the New Year with a bang at the Coventry Sports & Leisure Centre this Saturday night when they entertain National League Division One rivals Leeds Carnegie at 7:30pm.
Four weeks without a game due to bad weather and the Christmas break means coach Roger Payne’s squad is fully fresh as they begin their assault on the play-off places, which sees nine of their remaining 15 league games on home court.
Assistant coach Marcus Garvey is hoping the side’s work on defensive pressure will go some way to improving Coventry’s league form which has given them just one win from five, starting with seventh-placed Leeds.
He said: “The players realise they haven’t performed at their best and they desperately want to start 2011 on winning ways.”
“Leeds are a very strong team and finished in the top three last year. They’re not a perimeter shooting team but they’re very disciplined in moving the ball and mix up their defences quite well. But they have lost to sides that have put them under pressure and we plan to do the same.”
“We have been trying to improve our defensive pressure by getting more players involved in the play, and recognising what is going to be best for the team.”
Intensity should be at a premium all evening as coach Payne looks to beat counterpart Matt Newby in the battle of pressure by utilising his 15 man squad as much as possible – indicating that endurance could heavily influence the result in the final quarter.
However Carnegie are expected to receive a pre-match boost when they welcome back the league’s top scorer Adrian Fenyn and American team mate Mike Medved from injury. The duo’s absence has coincided with a run of four straight losses for the Yorkshire outfit, yet Garvey played down their return.
“We don’t mind who they put out on the floor. The bottom line is we have to perform and not worry about the opposition, they have to start worrying about us for a change because from last year we’re a side unknown to them, so it’ll be interesting.”
The only injury doubt for Crusaders is 7ft centre Rob Clarke, who is struggling with long term knee and ankle injuries.
Tickets are £2 adults and £1 concessions, and are available on the door.
Venue: Coventry Sports & Leisure Centre, Fairfax Street, Coventry.
When: Saturday 8th January 2011
Tip Off: 7:30pm
Competition: National League Division One
Team expected to play Leeds: Michael Gale; Jack McDonald; Leigh Cascoe; Roy Owen; Siman Stewart; Dave Edden; Simon Payne; Damilola Fakunle; Daniel Belgrave; Pierre Henry-Fontaine; Louie Romero; Louis Young; Alex Banfield; Casey Crawford.
Youth team news
Alvin Scott's Under-18-Men return to action on Saturday at unbeaten league leaders Derby Trailblazers, tip-off is 12:00pm at Noel Baker School.
Meanwhile, there is no game for the Under-16-Boys this weekend, they return to action at the Coventry Sports & Leisure Centre next Saturday at 12:15pm against Leicester Sparks.