Fawcett: “Burnley will be our toughest test”

05/11/2011 11:58

Hull Wasps continue with their National League campaign tonight against one of the league’s top sides in Burnley Blaze.

Burnley joined the National League last season and almost made the play-offs, finishing just 2 points behind Warrington and Huddersfield. So far this season, they have won both of their opening league fixtures including an impressive 78-64 win over Bradford Maroons; another top-side in the league.

Coached by former London Towers professional, Malcolm Leak, the Blaze are a well-drilled and athletic side who, according to Hull Wasps coach Matt Fawcett, are favourites for the league title this season.

“For me, Burnley are the favourites this year” said Fawcett ahead of their home game this Saturday.

“We are a strong side though and we’re confident of a play-off spot this year. In some ways, we have modelled a lot of our work this year, on what we saw from Burnley last year.

“Malcolm Leak has got them playing together very well. They’re a very young side who train almost every day and that makes a huge difference. It will be our toughest test this Saturday but I’m confident in my team. Just before Christmas last year we played one of the league favourites in Warrington and we pulled it out of the bag and won 88-77. It was the performance of the season.

“We have to find that same spirit we found last year. We’re a new side this year and still young in terms of playing together but I think that with the home crowd behind us, we can put in a performance to make them proud.”

The Wasps return home after an 85-81 victory at Bradford Dragons II last weekend. With just 9 players available for selection for that game, it was a performance that pleased the young Hull coach.

“We had just 9 players last weekend and we had to grind that result out. We are constantly learning lessons as individuals and as a team. Last week’s performance will go a long way and when we stick together, I know we will accomplish great things.”

Wasps will see the return of big men James Rayner and Chris Mills, while starting guards Chris Cummings and Andy Marr may also return.

Tip-off tonight at the Bonus Arena is 5:30pm.