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Worcester Wolves hit by delays to Worcester Arena opening
10:00am Friday 8th March 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WORCESTER Wolves have been dealt a blow to their chances of playing a match in the new Worcester Arena before the end of the season due to building delays.
However, that has now been put back to allow the completion of construction work.
Wolves had hoped to move into the 2,000-seater venue, which will also be used as a base for England badminton and disability sport, in time to finish their British Basketball League season next month.
Their last home fixture against Leicester Riders is scheduled for Friday, April 5, before the start of the play-offs.
It is still possible that either a home quarter-final tie, or semi-final should Wolves get that far, be staged at the arena but officials say there is no guarantee.
Mick Donovan, head of the university’s institute of sports and exercise science, said: “We have been told we will get the keys by the end of the month and we are looking forward to getting in and making sure we are happy so we can let the public in.
“We would like to get a play-off game in but we cannot confirm it.”
Wolves step up their bid for a top-four BBL finish when they host London Lions at the university tonight (7.30).
Having been edged out by just seven points on aggregate by Leicester Riders in the BBL Trophy semi-finals last weekend, head coach Paul James is expecting a fierce response from his players.
“We have got to lick our wounds and get back to it against the Lions,” he said. “I would like to think there’s going to be a bit of a backlash from last weekend and we’re going to jump on them early and get the game over with.”
Victory would keep up the pressure on fourth-placed Plymouth Raiders, who are just two points ahead of Worcester, while the Lions are also looking to cement their play-off spot.
It is the third and final meeting between the sides following Wolves’ 98-91 triumph at the university last month and London’s 94-76 November success at Crystal Palace.
James, whose side also travel to Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday (5.30pm), said: “There are almost three leagues within the BBL now. You’ve got Leicester and Newcastle at the top then there’s another four teams vying for third place and another group of teams trying to make the final two spots in the play-offs.
“It’s very important that we keep winning.”
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