Flying Eagles ready to Rock

After Thursday's destruction of third-placed Sheffield, the force could well be with the Eagles as they bid to get one hand on the BBL League trophy with a win over fellow title chasers the Scottish Rocks tonight.

After Thursday's destruction of third-placed Sheffield, the force could well be with the Eagles as they bid to get one hand on the BBL League trophy with a win over fellow title chasers the Scottish Rocks tonight.

Both teams suffered setbacks last weekend with shock defeats at Guildford and Chester.

Newcastle, however, bounced back in spectacular fashion with their brutal dismantling of the Sharks to establish much-needed momentum - while the Rocks have been left frustrated all week.

Coach Steve Swanson tried playing down the game earlier this week, refusing to label it as a winner-takes-all encounter.

However, with just five games remaining it is difficult to see how the losers will be able to recover.

Newcastle remain marginal favourites to be crowned champions for the first time, having lost one game fewer than the Glasgow outfit while four of their remaining five games are at home.

Swanson's side, meanwhile, have four road games and notably two tricky visits to Chester, who have already beaten the Eagles twice.

However, the Rocks do lead the four-game series 2-1 and, if Newcastle do prevail, a narrow win may not be sufficient.

The Springfield Honda-backed club must win by four points or more to ensure if the teams finish the season level they will be the ones to take the series on points difference.

While all the pre-game talk has been of Charles Smith returning to haunt his former club, there is little doubt fans are in for a treat since there will be five members of England's bronze medal-winning side on display.

Despite tensions between the clubs earlier in the season, Andrew Sullivan has taken time out to reveal his admiration for Swanson's side.

He said: "It cannot be any co-incidence the two teams who are competing for the league title are the best prepared in my opinion.

"I have a lot of respect and admiration for Coach Swanson and in particular the work he does preparing his side every single week.

"They probably do prepare slightly different and will have their own way of doing things compared to us but they have worked hard to have been right at the top all season long.

"They have good players and we know first hand what kind of danger Julius Joseph and Germayne Forbes will pose. We will have to be at our best to get a win."

The Eagles will be sweating on the fitness of Sullivan, particularly with Jeremy Hyatt also showing signs of a stomach upset at Sheffield, although it is thought both will play some part.

However, coach Fab Flournoy will be keeping his fingers crossed that he does not have to risk Sullivan at all.

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