FOUR games into the new season and BiG Storage Cheshire Jets are exactly where they want to be – the challenge is to stay there.
Jets head into this weekend’s doubleheader sitting proudly at the summit of the BBL Championship after taking six points from a possible eight.
Paul Smith’s men can ensure they stay at the top of the pile by winning at Sheffield Sharks tonight (7.30pm) and at home to Worthing Thunder on Sunday (5.30pm).
Jets beat the Sharks in a pre-season friendly at the Northgate, but Smith knows they will be a different proposition on their own court.
He said: “I would expect Friday’s game to have a lot more intensity. They’re a big, strong side, with a lot of heritage as a club.
“Chris Saunders did very well against us in that friendly, and Sherman Rivers is a really good quality point guard.”
Sharks won the series between the teams 2-1 last season, but home court proved to be of little advantage with two of the three games being won by the visiting team.
Sunday’s Northgate meeting with Worthing gives Smith the chance to catch up with his old friend Gary Smith, the Thunder coach.
The Jets boss said: “We played together for England under 17s and got on really well. I guess we just clicked and, although neither of us lit it up as players, it’s good to see him take Worthing into the BBL.
“I haven’t had a chance to see them as we’ve always been playing at the same time, but we’ve got Steve Gayle and he’ll tell us how Gary’s teams play.”
Thunder coach Smith added: “After two tough home games, the pressure’s off us a bit this weekend. Cheshire are top of the league so everyone is expecting them to beat us, especially as we’re still looking for our first win.
“Our players will be able to step on to the court relaxed and with nothing to lose, whereas they will be at home in front of their own fans.”