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Paul James intent on two Worcester Wolves victories
HEAD coach Paul James says nothing less than two victories will do for Worcester Wolves in their British Basketball League double-header this weekend.
Wolves have only won one of their opening four matches in the competition — 92-80 against Manchester Giants — and find themselves ninth in the embryonic standings.
Tonight they welcome Mersey Tigers to the University of Worcester (7pm) before travelling to Cheshire Jets tomorrow (5.30pm).
James said: “It’s a massive weekend for us. Realistically, we cannot afford to drop any more games at this stage of the season.
“This really has to be a four-point weekend for us before we start making life really difficult for ourselves.
“We lost eight games in total last season so to be where we are now is disappointing.”
Wolves have so far been without the influential Sherrard Prezzie-Blue, while fellow guard Alex Owumi was withdrawn three minutes into last Sunday’s 71-69 defeat at Surrey Heat through illness.
Prezzie-Blue is again missing this weekend although there is now light at the end of tunnel with his work permit and Wolves are hoping to have the American in the country by the end of the month.
Owumi has undergone medical tests this week but is expected to get the all-clear to take to the court against the Tigers and Jets.
James also wants the elder statesmen of his squad, including Lithuanian duo Arnas Kazlauskas and Arturas Masiulis, to step up to the plate.
The Wolves director of basketball said: “Obviously, there are reasons for our situation but it is what it is.
“We really have to look towards some of those players who are getting extended court time to step up and show us what they can do.
“I am certainly looking at the experienced players. I think they could probably contribute a little bit more towards what we’ve been doing.
“The young boys have been doing quite well. They’ve been thrown in quicker than I probably would have liked and than they would have expected. They’ve done well but I expect my experienced players to settle down and start leading the way.
“I still think that, with the experience we’ve got in this team, we should have picked up two more wins than we have so far.”
The Tigers have lost both their matches to date, going down 106-45 at Surrey Heat and 88-64 at Cheshire Jets.
Cheshire, who got the better of Wolves in last season’s play-off quarter-finals, defeated Leicester Riders 80-72 in their other game.