Fab has players in gym at 6.30 every morning

Newcastle Eagles forward Olu Babalola has hailed player-coach Fab Flournoy's punishing training regime as the key to the team's revival ahead of another crunch weekend for the club.

Newcastle Eagles forward Olu Babalola has hailed player-coach Fab Flournoy's punishing training regime as the key to the team's revival ahead of another crunch weekend for the club.

The Eagles were under fire prior to the festive period after a string of poor results.

And with several players' positions under threat, Flournoy, who was already a notorious taskmaster, decided it was time his team learned the hard way and implemented a strict-post Christmas practice timetable.

Thankfully for Eagles fans, it was a move that has not only galvanised the players but has paid dividends results-wise with the Springfield Honda- backed club searching for a seventh successive win when they entertain London United tonight.

The straight-talking Babalola admitted that he was one of the players who was in need of a kick up the backside.

"Ever since Christmas we have worked incredibly hard to get things back on track," he said. "Fab has had us at the gym working out at 6.30 every morning.

"I doubt if there is a team in the league that is working harder than us at the moment, but it was absolutely necessary and it is a timetable we are happy to stick with.

"I was probably the worst person for not being in the right place at the right time defensively.

"All of the extra work that we are doing has changed that and, looking back, I guess I needed it more than anybody," explained Babalola.

"We are more together as a team and playing with not only a lot of intensity and heart but we have so much confidence right now and we don't want to change a thing."

After facing former coach Tony Garbelotto and his United side, the Eagles travel to Braehead Arena in Glasgow on Sunday to face the Scottish Rocks and hopefully erase the memory of a shattering BBL Cup semi-final defeat in early December.

Babalola, however, is refusing to look past tonight's game and a United side that showed how dangerous they can be by beating Milton Keynes last weekend, with the influential Bryant Feggins back after a long-term injury.

"London will be tough as every game in this league is," he said. "We prepare for both games physically, but mentally we aren't looking past London. It would be foolish if we did.

"We play every game like it is a final because we know how important wins are, and especially putting ourselves in the position to win.

"I know that if we work hard we can get another important victory and I am looking forward to it, as are the rest of the guys."

Having had more than a full week back in practice, it will be interesting to see if Flournoy finally lets Jeremy Hyatt out of the doghouse and back on to court.

But while the rest of the team are on fire and picking up wins, it makes this particular issue seem almost trivial, which is incredible considering Hyatt's class and experience.

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