AILING EAGLES SET TO RING CHANGES

Newcastle Eagles supremo Paul Blake has revealed for the first time that head coach Fab Flournoy might wield the axe after the reigning champions’ sub-par start to the season.

The Tyneside outfit currently sit in a lowly seventh place in the BBL, having crashed out of the Cup in the semi-finals with a devastating reverse to Mersey Tigers last week.

The Liverpudlians will again start as hot favourites when the sides meet again in the forthcoming Trophy semi-finals, potentially heaping more misery on their rivals.

And with Flournoy declaring that his side hasn’t “got out of the starting blocks yet”, Blake is preparing to take drastic action.

“If you look at the run-in we have up to Christmas, it’s not horrendous and we’re probably stuck with what we’ve got,” he said.

Blake is unhappy with form

“But there is potential for change after that. We’re seventh in the league and I’m certainly not happy with that.”

It means under-performing players like Kadiri Richard and Joe Chapman, who has toiled to adapt to a new role, may be on notice with Blake hinting that addition can only be by subtraction.

“We could possibly reinforce but it could be an either/or situation,” he confirmed.

“We’ve set our budgets for this year and I don’t want to eat into next year’s. We’re trying to run a business here. We still have one of the highest budgets in the league so there are no real excuses.”

Richard, who was signed from Worthing in the summer, has suffered by comparison with the player he replaced, the Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan.

However Flournoy – who is targeting a return from a knee ligament injury within the next fortnight – has given the forward his backing, insisting his demotion to Newcastle’s bench is not a rebuke.

“I’ve changed my starting line-up several times already,” he explained.

“But early in the season, there are always players who have problems acclimating to how we play. I think he’s coming along fine. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll start to see more of him and the things he can deliver.”

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