Sheffield Sharks takes positives from defeat for Newcastle test

Atiba Lyons
Atiba Lyons
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The DBL Sharks Sheffield go into tonight’s road encounter with ESH Group Eagles Newcastle in good spirits despite last weekend’s loss to Leicester Riders, says head coach Atiba Lyons.

The Sharks fell just short against the Riders, an 80-75 defeat ending their six-game winning streak. But Lyons was still pleased with the way his players dealt with one of the league’s top sides.

“We’ve shown a lot of heart recently. It’s good to see us perform like that with our backs against the wall,” he said.

“We were down by 19 (against Leicester) at one point but managed to fight back to within four points. But we did make some poor decisions down the stretch when good ones could have given us a better chance to win it.”

Lyons has been pleased with the promise his side has shown during the past six weeks or so, with six consecutive wins resulting in the Sharks chief being named the BBL’s Coach of the Month for October.

“We’ve come out relatively strong and played well together as a team,” he said Lyons.

“Although we’ve suffered injuries and departures, we’ve managed to win games in difficult circumstances.

“That caught us up a little bit against Leicester but we have a tough schedule at the moment. I think everyone’s tough this year, so Newcastle is going to be another good test.”

Lyons was also in a positive mood looking ahead to tonight’s game.

“Newcastle are showing great form,” he said.

“In the league they’re undefeated and they’re the team that’ are setting the standard right now. Ourselves, I think we’ve gone into games without full fitness. We’re still a work in progress.”

Lyons is adamant guard Mackey McKnight won’t be rushed back from injury.

“In terms of Mackey, it’ll be a game-time decision,” he said.

“We’ve got a long season ahead of us and we’d love to win this one, but we’re not going to sacrifice everything, so it’ll be a last-minute decision.”