Birmingham Knights Logo 568Birmingham Knights’ Martyn Gayle believes whoever works the hardest will be a determining factor in his side’s upcoming clashes with fellow strugglers Surrey United.

The BBL new-boys are 0-20 in all competitions so far but Gayle insists that spirits are still high amongst the squad as they go in search for their first victory.

He said: “We can smell the victory. It’s going to be hard-work but there’s a different kind of spring in everyone’s step in training. It’s an achievable game for us, we’re both bottom of the league so it’s going to be a dog-fight until the end but I think we can come out on top if we finally come together as a unit.”

Birmingham and Surrey will play all three league meetings against each other in February, which will undoubtedly put the clashes further into the spotlight. However, Gayle believes that the close proximity of the fixtures will only add to the spectacle and create excitement.

“I think it makes it more exciting. Both teams have played against great teams in the league, now it’s a chance to show what we are capable of against each other. Putting it in the main spotlight will be a good thing.”

Surrey’s only victory this season came this month against Manchester after a rallying fourth-quarter effort helped them over the line. The Knights came close to their elusive first win against the Giants and Gayle feels that Surrey’s first win serves as added motivation for his side.

“We were in a close game (with Manchester) where we were up a good number of points with five minutes to go so we know we could have beat them. So, to think Surrey beat them and they were down by 21, it just makes us more hungry to get the victory.”

Gayle isn’t concerned on whether the team is judged on their results against other teams bar Surrey, first and foremost, any win is the prime goal and he feels communication is key if they are to turn their dream into a reality.

He said: “I think everybody understands that the league is tough with some great teams. We’re a new team, and a young one at that so gaining experience and progression are the most important things for us.”

“Communication is one of our main threats at the minute. Coming together as a team and as a whole unit is important, we just need to find our identity of what we are and what we are trying to do.”

The Knights’ sole import Brent Benson is way out in front as the club’s leading points scorer this season with 376 but Gayle is averaging a solid 13.6 ppg whilst proving his threat from beyond the arc. The 6’3″ shooting is guard is just one of three players, including his team-mate Benson, to have made more than 50 3-pointers in the league.

Gayle said: “I’ve always been a three-point shooter and the coach has confidence in me shooting the ball so I let it fly without conscience.”

There’s a strong local connection within the Knights’ squad and Gayle takes heart from representing his home-town. The 24-year-old took home the honours of Sportsman of the Year at the 2013 Birmingham Sports Awards, which he described as the most important accolade he has received.

“The feeling of being your city’s ambassador of sport is priceless. My performances mean a lot to me, not because of personal satisfaction but, because I’m showing everyone I’m Birmingham born and bred and my stats show that I can hang with the best of them.

Gayle was the second highest scorer, in all competitions, with the Derby Trailblazers in EBL Division 1 last season and is relishing the opportunity to excel at a higher level.

“It’s fantastic. It’s what I wanted to achieve in my career. To play against top players in the best league I can, and keep progressing. When you play against top players at such a high level, it’s an amazing feeling to know you’re competing against them.

“To know that I grew up wanting to play for the city I’m from and now to be finally doing it at an elite level is an immense feeling. I’m delighted I’ve been apart of this, even with the losses.”

He added: “I hope to get the UK to see that us Birmingham boys can play and elite players are still in Birmingham waiting to spread their wings and fly the nest. We just need to get a few wins to back up our case.”

The final of the three meetings between the two teams will be broadcast live on BBL TV at Surrey Sports Park on 23rd February. Half-season prices are now available to purchase at just £14.99.

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