Another tough ask for Lyons’ Sharks

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Challenge after challenge keeps piling up at the door of Sheffield Sharks’ coach Atiba Lyons.

Just a week after seeing-off Cheshire Phoenix, complete with ex-NBA star Julius Hodge in their ranks in the BBL Cup, the Sharks welcome league leaders Newcastle Eagles to the EIS tonight for what promises to be yet another huge mission.

And as if that isn’t enough, Lyons takes his team on a long road trip tomorrow down to surprise-package Bristol Flyers, who have already claimed the scalps of highly-fancied Worcester Wolves as well as Plymouth, Manchester and Glasgow in their inaugural BBL campaign.

The visit of Newcastle gives the Sharks a chance to avenge a 95-84 defeat in the North East a month ago. The Sharks are also keen to improve on their 3-2 league record so far, giving the fixture added significance.

Once again, Newcastle’s Fab Flournoy has assembled what appears to be the team to beat again, having lost just once so far on opening night against Worcester.

Flournoy’s team is again built around his own veteran talents and those of free-scoring Charles Smith and Darius Defoe. The addition of Americans Rahmon Fletcher and Andre Jones provide the energy to that trio’s experience and set Flournoy’s men apart from the other title challengers.

The Sharks will be keen for a repeat of their encounter back in February, when a BJ Holmes buzzer-beating three point shot gave his side a memorable 94-92 win over the Eagles amid scenes of delirium on the court. Typically, Sharks-Eagles encounters are always hard-fought and memorable and there is little to suggest that Friday’s game will be any different.

Lyons and his charges finish off a busy weekend with a trip down to the South West to take on newly-crowned BBL Coach of the Month Andreas Kapoulas’ Bristol Flyers.

The Flyers cruised to opening weekend wins over Plymouth and Glasgow and last week were successful by 90-82 over highly-fancied Worcester Wolves in the BBL Cup. Kapoulas’ side have made the transition from the EBL to the BBL with ease and the Sharks must be wary of a banana skin defeat as they attempt to kickstart their league season.