SHEFFIELD Sharks bid to reach the last four of the BBL Trophy for the first time since 2007 will mean they have to go through the holders of the competition, Mersey Tigers.
After winning three pieces of silverware last season the Tigers looked in danger of going out of the BBL altogether in the summer after owner Gary Townsend sold the club.
Key players from last year including Nate Reinking, who is now with the Sharks, former Sheffield forward Tafari Toney, and Brits Andrew Thomson and James Jones have all left Merseyside. It is unclear who will be on their team when Sharks visit Knowsley Leisure Park on Friday evening.
Sharks have already put themselves in pole position in their Trophy group after a double win over Cheshire Jets at the weekend.
It was the perfect start to the season for the One Health sponsored club with contributions from everyone on the roster during the two games.
Player-coach Atiba Lyons now faces a dilemma over on trail point guard Jimmy Langhurst. Original first choice BJ Jenkins is still in America having failed to secure a visa and Langhurst has played well in his absence.
Lyons had said he would consider his options this week, but the form of Langhurst will make the problem much tougher to resolve.