Everton Tigers head coach Tony Garbelotto admits his side will have to improve in order to kick start their BBL campaign ahead of a double header of games this weekend.
On Saturday local bragging rights are on offer as they lock horns with an improving Cheshire Jets side but the following day they face a sterner test of their early title credentials with a trip to presumed challengers Newcastle.
The Tigers have so far endured a mixed start to the new season with opening day defeat at the hands of Leicester. They bounced back last weekend with a dramatic late win against the Guildford Heat at the Echo Arena.
But Garbelotto, who is still awaiting the arrival of point guard Steven Rush, said: “I did not feel we played well. Guildford played really hard, defended the post really well and to be honest could easily have won the game.
“Our only bright spots were the play of James Jones and the inside play of Flo Larkai. For sure, if we play like we did at the Arena, we will not win many games.”
Saturday sees the Tigers make the short journey to Chester’s Northgate Arena where they will take on a side that they are yet to lose against.
The Jets will be without long term injury absentee and ex-Tiger Calvin Davis but Garbelotto knows that given the opportunity they possess enough quality to hurt his team from anywhere on the court:
“They have been a bit of a surprise package so far this season and have had some decent results. We know we’ve got a decent record against them but they will be trying even harder to put that right so we know we’ll have to ready for them from the tip-off.”
Less than 24 hours later the Tigers are on the road again to Tyneside to face Garbelotto’s former club – a game which the Everton coach believes will be a stern examination.
“It is too early to tell how we will shape up this year. We are hoping to get our full team out on the floor this weekend and then we will be able to start to see exactly where we are
“This game has come a little too early for us, but that said, we have to know where we are against the best teams and there is no doubt that Newcastle are the best.
“Their whole roster can be game winners and they have the most settled and balanced team in the league.”