Sheffield Sharks coach tipping golden Eagles to fly even higher

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SHEFFIELD Sharks coach Atiba Lyons believes the best of tonight’s opponents Newcastle Eagles is yet to come.

The Eagles have been the premier team in British basketball for a number of seasons with five league titles, five play-off crowns, two BBL Cups and five BBL Trophies in their trophy cabinet since former Sharks small forward Fab Flournoy took over as head coach. Much of Newcastle’s success has been built on a core of players who have remained at the club for a number of years.

Flournoy has managed to replace key players and has built a team ethic that has swept all before it recently.

However, last Sunday’s BBL Cup final loss against Leicester Riders may be the first sign that the Eagles have a contender for their position as Britain’s best.

But Lyons says he expects Newcastle to grow in strength as the season progresses.

He said: “They’re getting used to changes they made in the close season.

“Maybe they made more (changes) than they usually do but they’ll get better and stronger as the year goes on.”

Sharks have won three in a row but will find no sterner test of their improved form than a visit to Newcastle, said Lyons.

“We’ve got to make sure we do it against the top teams now and be still there at the end of the games. We’re improving but there’s still more to do,” he added.

Sharks travel to Glasgow Rocks on Sunday.

* Follow The Star sports writer Richard Fidler on Twitter @richardfidler. For breaking news keep checking The Star website or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar or Twitter at www.twitter.com/sheffieldstar