The new owners of Sheffield Sharks have pledged that the team will remain competitive in the BBL next season while attempting to keep the club on a solid financial footing.

It has been confirmed that long-time owners, Montgomery Leisure Services, have folded with the league approving new backers to take over the franchise, a group which includes previous Sharks General Manager Sarah Backovic, operations chief John Timms, plus a local solicitor Stephen Shore – and player-coach Atiba Lyons.

And Backovic insists that fans should notice little difference when the campaign tips off next month.

“The franchise has been transferred into a new company with new directors including myself and Atiba,” she said. “So there isn’t much change. The budget has been maintained at the same level. The economy affects that more than the change of ownership. It would have been the same irrespective of who was involved.”

Lyons has begun to piece together his squad – which is unlikely to include either Mike Cook or Tafari Toney, his two stand-out stars of last term.

“Mike Tuck will be back,” he confirmed. “He’s a good piece for us, along with Ryan Patton. Hopefully by the end of the week, we’ll have finalised most of the roster.”

That list is unlikely to include British guard Perry Lawson, who is likely to become a target for other BBL teams after he was cut loose by Sheffield.

“It was a long and difficult decision because he’s been with us for a few years,” Backovic said. “But the reality is that with the team shaping up the way it is, he’s not our first choice.”

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