SHEFFIELD Sharks forward Andrew Bridge is using all his experience to help his teammates prepare for Sunday’s BBL Trophy first leg at Cheshire Phoenix.
The 33-year-old, who began his career in Sheffield, won the Trophy five times as a Newcastle Eagles player before rejoining the Sharks at the start of the season.
He says the opening match at the Northgate Arena in Chester is a chance for the Sharks to position themselves for the knockout blow in the return leg at the EIS on Friday, March 1.
“We just need to put ourselves in a position where there’s something to play for in the second leg,” he said.
“Whether that’s by winning or not remains to be seen. But it’s not losing by 20.
“I’ve been in every situation in two-leg games, and all you can really do in the first leg is lose the tie, which is what we did against Leicester (Riders) in the Cup semi-final. It’s important we’re steady and not try killer plays, and if we do that hopefully we’ll be in a position to win in the second leg.”
Against the Riders in the BBL Cup semi-final the Sharks were beaten 90-70 at home in the first game and 75-45 in the East Midlands.
Sheffield are much improved since then and Cheshire are not in the same class as the high-flying Riders.
However, as Bridge points out, their hosts on Sunday are in a good run of form that included a dramatic buzzer beating victory last Friday against title-chasing Newcastle Eagles.
He said: “Cheshire have improved dramatically recently. They’ve got a settled team now, and they know what they’re doing.”