Basketball: Leicester Riders in no hurry to focus on Cup final just yet
All the talk surrounding Leicester Riders may be on next weekend's BBL Cup final, but the team are firmly focused on the two league fixtures they have to overcome first.
Riders play host to a resurgent Worcester Wolves tonight at the John Sandford Centre (7.30), and then head to London for a live televised game on Tuesday before they can concentrate on the big final against Newcastle.
Despite the chatter that goes on in the build-up to a showpiece game, Riders coach Rob Paternostro is adamant it has not been a distraction for him and his team.
"Absolutely not," he insisted. "We're just as focused on the opponent we are playing next, just as we always are.
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"We've had a good week of practice and we've had plenty of time to go over Worcester and what they do.
"I don't think there is anybody in the room who isn't totally focused on this game tonight."
Worcester finished level in the table on points with Jelson Homes DMU-backed Riders last season, but personnel issues have seen them lose seven of their first 16 games this term.
But Riders will need to be at their best to see off Wolves, who are much improved from the side that Leicester dismantled with relative ease in October.
After lengthy permit issues, point-guard Sherrad Prezzie-Blue finally joined the Wolves squad in December, along with former Cheshire forward Kai Williams, and since then Worcester have beaten Newcastle, Glasgow and Plymouth by double figures.
"They have more balance and depth now, and that is really important in this league with the way the schedule is," said Paternostro.
"When coach Paul James was putting his team together, this is the type of side he envisaged. With Prezzie-Blue not coming in at the start, they didn't have that. Picking up Kai Williams as well gives them more talent and more depth.
"What they are able to do now is rotate guys better and have people playing in different positions.
"It is an important part of our league to be able have different combinations."
Riders: Okoro, Couisnard, Stewart, Sullivan, Calvo, Hopkins, Taylor, Anderson, Washington, Lamble, Haggith, Gould, Dawes, Maynard, Losonsky, Rowe.
Wolves: Dover, Prezzie-Blue, Van-Beest, Williams, Owumi, Ziwa, Fernandez, Turner, Belgrave, Morant-Hudson, Kazlauskas, Irving, Ocitti, Noyer, Masiulis.