Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Guard against Upset

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Guard against Upset

Article excerpt

ANDREW Bridge says Newcastle Eagles can't let complacency dull their competitive edge when they get their BBL Trophy defence under way against lower-league Reading Rockets, writes MARK DOUGLAS.

The Eagles take on last year's National League runners-up at their Rivermead home tonight with odds of further progress in the revamped Trophy competition stacked in their favour.

It was a kind draw for the Eagles, who have won four away games on the spin, but Bridge knows that the Rockets should not be regarded as a soft touch.

"It would be a massive upset if they won," he admitted. "But they're not a bad team, by all accounts. Last year they didn't lose a game so we can't think that we'll just turn up and have it all our own way. "They've lost their coach since then but managed to keep most of the guys on their roster last year. So they've clearly got a lot of guys with talent and you never know what could happen.

"They didn't play last weekend so they've had a lot of time to prepare just for this game whereas we haven't. There is potential - if we don't show up and do what we are supposed to do - for it to go massively wrong."

The Eagles have benefited from a run of away games that has bonded their players and helped them to work out a strategy for closing out tight matches.

Bridge believes that if they stick to those principles and don't treat the Rockets lightly, there should be a safe passage for them into the second round of the Trophy.

"As long as we come out and play with the same type of defensive energy and intensity that we have been, we should have enough to win the game," he said. "Regardless of what we do on offence, if we do that we should have enough skill and determination to keep their skill low. "We haven't done too much homework on them, to be honest. Once we figure out how they play and how their coach likes to set them up it shouldn't be too difficult for us. …

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