Leicester Riders take on the Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Trophy Quarter-Final on Tuesday 7th February at Leicester Arena.
Ahead of Leicester Riders’ huge home game, Ally Darlow had the opportunity to catch up with former-Newcastle player Andy Thomson, here’s what he had to say:
With this huge quarter final game being against your former side, it must be a nice chance to catch up with some former team mates?
Yeah, I’m still in contact with some of the guys from the team so once every couple of weeks we talk and how everyone’s doing but obviously when we play each other we’re not friends until after the game. I’ve always been like that, they’ve always been like that and you know we’re gonna go out there and try and get the win.
You’ve won this competition three times, once with the Mersey Tigers and twice with Newcastle, so what does it mean for a club on the up like Leicester to be competing in this competition?
It’s great, it’s what this team was put together for: to win trophies, we came up short in the BBL Cup but Leicester won this competition last year and we want to retain this title and kick off our season. We’ve got Newcastle in our way so we’re gonna try and take care of business and get to the semi-final.
You’ve won it all on two occasions with Newcastle and obviously know what it’s like to be part of a serial-winning side, is that feeling similar to what’s going on here with the Riders?
Yeah, it’s a different process because obviously it’s a different team and the team’s changed a lot from last year so we’re still very early on in creating our own identity and kind of moving on there. There’s times where we are very good and there are times where we are poor but we are moving in the right direction and I don’t know if it’s a clean sweep kind of team but we want to come away with at least one or two trophies to build on for next season although at the moment I am confident that we’re moving in the right direction.
Is it strange to be lacing up against a side that you’ve played with for 3 seasons previously?
No, not really. It’s basketball it’s the business you kind of just get on with it, I had a great time in Newcastle but this is the next chapter in my career and I’m very happy here and want to win trophies here so that’s my main goal and that’s what I’m focused on.
Riders and the Eagles are first and second in the championship, does this game have a sort of final feel about it?
Yeah of course, every game that we play against them is massive you know and we want to win and we have to play at the very top of our game to get the win. We’re under no illusions of the task in hand but it’s always good to play in these sort of games, everyone wants to be involved in these sorts of games. Even just the build up a couple of days before these sorts of games you can see everyone’s focused and knows’ what’s ahead of them and wants to get that win.
With Newcastle picking up the first piece of silverware this season in the BBL Cup, how important is it to a club like Leicester to get the next piece?
Yeah that’s massive, obviously we were put together to win trophies. We already came up short in the cup and didn’t give a good account of ourselves so we want to rectify that and with the trophy, win the next three games and we’re in the final so that’s our main goal; it would really kick-start our season and spur us on in the league. We’re just taking it one game at a time and this game is very important to us and we’ll try to get the win.
Finally, do you have a message for the fans ahead of arguably your biggest game of the season?
The fans have been great this season and from the start they’ve supported us. At times we’ve let them down, in the cup and then when we played Newcastle here so we’re looking to rectify that but the travelling fans and the home support has been great so just keep it up and we’ll try and deliver some trophies.
You can keep with the game at 19:45 on Tuesday evening via Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter by following @RidersBball.