THE Jets are just one big Northgate Arena night away from a second final of the season – and a chance to regain a trophy they regard as theirs.
But key injuries could make their BBL Trophy semi-final second-leg against MK Lions tougher than it would be as inspirational skipper James Hamilton and hotshot Stephen Gayle are both doubtful for Sunday.
Add to that the fact the Jets have to play third-placed Glasgow Rocks away from home on Friday night and Paul Smith’s charges face a difficult test.
But the head coach believes in his squad and is expecting a capacity Arena crowd to create another special atmosphere to help spur the team on to the final against Newcastle Eagles.
“We only trail by a point and I would have taken that before the game,” said Smith after the Jets’ 80-79 defeat at Milton Keynes in the first leg.
“We are capable of overturning that at home with the crowd behind us.”
The Trophy is special to the Jets. They won it four times in a row between 2001 and 2004 and Smith wants it back.
“We have a great opportunity to reach the final and challenge for a piece of silverware we used to own,” he said.
“It is going to be tough, I wish we could put back the Glasgow game but we can’t and I wish we didn’t have injury worries but we do, but if we lose on Sunday it won’t be because we have injuries, it will be because we didn’t do enough.”
Hamilton and Gayle – who top-scored in the first leg with 21 to lead a Jets fightback from 22-8 down in the first period – both aggravated shoulder injuries and are rated 50-50 for the weekend.
“The starting five didn’t click in the first leg,” said Smith. “But the bench five did and when that happens it gives you confidence in your depth.”
Cheshire Jets v MK Lions tips off at 5.30pm on Sunday at the Northgate Arena.