Newcastle Eagles may be facing two teams they have never lost to, but Fab Flournoy is ready for a weekend fraught with danger.
The Eagles’ title charge continues this weekend with games at Manchester Giants tonight and Durham Wildcats, in a North East derby to savour, on Sunday. Eagles have unbeaten records against both franchises but Flournoy feels the “hungry” duo are both threats.
“They are hungry and they have points to prove,” he said.
“They are trying to earn their stripes and to show they are serious about competing in the league so that makes both of these two teams a very serious threat and a danger to us.
“These are two teams that are getting better: they are laying the foundations and have progressed significantly in the last two years. I have consistently said it for years but teams want to beat us. We are a significant scalp to have. We are a big team to get a win against and that remains the case.”
The Giants are on the edges of the play-offs at the moment but they have won 10 games this season and Flournoy knows that his team cannot afford to go toe-to-toe with the Manchester side.
“This weekend is extremely dangerous. Previously, our games have been very demanding physically but neither of these teams is over-burdened with what we would consider big men,” he said.
“Manchester are a team that play to a certain philosophy and will continue to play one way. If we get into a scoring race with Manchester then we may find ourselves in trouble.
“They are consistent in their identity and about how they play. If we try to play them their way then we may find ourselves in a race that we can’t necessarily win.”
Flournoy is thankful for the form of Paul Gause in the run-in, although he admits part of him wants to keep the American import away from the limelight to ensure his fine performances stay under the radar.
Gause has been playing as the Eagles’ first specialist point guard for a few seasons and that has been a key factor in their recent surge.
“I’m absolutely delighted that at an important point in the season Paul is showing his quality. I think he is the most talented player that we have but equally he is still learning his craft,” Flournoy said.
“He is new to the point guard position and it is a new thing for him to be taking the reins, but I’m delighted with how he is doing it and delighted he is taking all of that extra responsibility.
“When Paul plays well he gives us another angle and he gives us some more attacking intensity. We become more diverse and that is most definitely a good thing with such difficult games ahead.”