LEICESTER Riders visit the Northgate Arena for a second consecutive weekend with Paul Smith preparing for a big battle.
Towards the end of Cheshire Jets’ comfortable win over the Riders on Sunday, the game degenerated as the visitors became very physical.
The tactic, which Smith felt was largely ignored by the officials, led to a cynical foul on Chez Marks which left him injured and doubtful for this Saturday’s game (5.30pm tip-off).
As a result, head coach Smith is readying his troops for a physical war.
“I think the officials were very lenient on Sunday,” he said. “As a result Chez picked up an injury.
“We could do without injuries at this stage but that’s basketball and it is a team game.
“The guys have already shown they can achieve amazing things in the face of such setbacks and I expect they will pull it out of the bag again. But I am expecting a very physical encounter and we will be ready for that.”
As well as the question mark over Marks, the Jets are still without influential skipper James Hamilton, who has been sidelined for three weeks with a shoulder injury.
“We don’t know when he will be back,” said Smith. “It is more serious than we initially thought and we just have to make sure he is right.
“But since he has been out the guys have pulled together as a team and we have gone on a fantastic run of five games unbeaten in the BBL Championship so it shows what this side is capable of.”
Jets’ run has been boosted by the efforts of veteran Shawn Myers and rookie Jerrah Young.
Both have led the points scoring in the last few games and have impressed their coach.
“I have seen Shawn do this before,” said Smith. “Around this stage of the season he gets into his groove, I don’t know why, but he does.
“Jerrah I love to watch play. I have got to know him since he arrived and he takes his basketball incredibly seriously. He is always in the gym and working on his game and that shows on matchday.
“He goes up against the big guys and competes and that has been key to our winning run.”
Jets v Leicester Riders, Northgate Arena, Saturday, April 3, tip-off 5.30pm.