HEAD coach Paul James says his Worcester Wolves players must show mental strength to overcome Sheffield Sharks in their play-off opener tomorrow (7.30pm).

Wolves have lost all three of their meetings with Sharks in the British Basketball League this season.

Despite the one-sided head-to-head record, James believes his side are “more athletic” and have “more scoring options” than Sheffield.

But he admits Wolves have not done enough to stop their opponents from disrupting their rhythm.

The first leg will take place at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport before locking horns at the University of Worcester Arena on Sunday (4pm).

“We haven’t played our best against Sheffield and the record shows that,” said James.

“We know what Sheffield are about. They are a team that will try to muddy the water as they will grab, hold and try to take you out of your rhythm.

“We have just got to do a better job at moving the ball.

“It has got nothing to do with physical capabilities as we are more athletic than they are and have got more scoring options than they have.

“We have all the talent we need, so it’s now about how we approach games mentally and how we deal with the things the other team is going to throw at us.

“Sheffield will throw a lot at us and we have got to just take it for what it is.

“They can’t beat us by just playing basketball so they will try to be physical and get into players’ minds.

“We need to focus for the whole 40 minutes, but I am really confident.”

Wolves knocked Sheffield out of the BBL Trophy with a 99-68 thrashing, but Sharks gave themselves another physiological boost with a 83-70 win at the arena.

The defeat ended Worcester’s 12-match winning streak, but James reckons their “uncharacteristic” performance could be a “blessing in disguise”.

“Some of the shots we were missing that day are shots we have been making for fun during that really successful period,” he added.

“We were still getting those opportunities, but we just didn’t put the ball in the hole.

“As long as our offensive game comes together I think we should be fine.

“But the key thing is to make sure that when we come back to Worcester on Sunday that we are still in the tie.”