BBL: New-look Riders look to make it four titles in a row

Rob Paternostro (Leicester Riders)
Rob Paternostro has been named BBL Coach of the season five times
Sheffield Sharks v Leicester Riders - BBL Championship
Fri 1 Feb - Live on BBC Sport website, app and connected TV - 19:25-21:30
Sat 2 Feb - Replay on BBC Red Button, Sport website, app and connected TV - 12:25-14:30

Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro says his improving team are ready to chase leaders London Lions for the BBL title this season.

The Riders, league winners for the last three seasons, lie third in the table but have played fewer games than most teams after playing in Europe.

"It's early still - we still have only two more losses than [the Lions]," he told BBC Sport.

The Riders play at Sheffield on Friday in a league game televised by the BBC.

The Riders have made a change for the second half of the season, bringing in forward Tim Williams to replace Wayne Martin, whose contract had ended.

"We had a look at all our options and Tim's name came up," said Paternostro. "He had a really good season in Finland last year and we're looking for a little more production on the inside."

BBL top fourWLPts
London Lions14228
Newcastle Eagles10620

The five-time coach of the year believes playing in the Fiba Europe Cup this season alongside the BBL left his team suffering from fixture congestion.

"I spoke with the other coaches in our European competition and they couldn't believe that we were playing Wednesday, then Friday, then Saturday. We played 11 games in 22 days at one point. I think that caught up with us," said Paternostro, whose team was eliminated from from Europe at the group stage.

Paternostro believes the BBL fixture list could deter teams from playing in Europe.

"I think we all want our teams to play in European competition so I think it would be good if we could balance that out - and not put ourselves in the position where team are playing that 11 in 22."

Top Stories