You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Gaze tipping much stronger United NBL side

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016 Adrian Warren

Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze expects his ladder-leading NBL side to be challenged by a far stronger Melbourne United side this Saturday than their most recent clash.

On November 12, Sydney won 87-71 in Melbourne, but United were missing injured stars Chris Goulding and Todd Blanchfield and had sacked import Cedric Jackson the previous day.

However, Melbourne have a replacement import guard in Casper Ware and Goulding returned to action last week with a bang, scoring 30 points in as many minutes and nailing eight of 12 three-pointers.

Blanchfield's groin issue means he is still in some doubt for Saturday's game at Hisense Arena, but Gaze isn't taking any chances.

"We're told that he will be playing and we're practising and preparing as if he's playing but I haven't heard definitively," Gaze said of Blanchfield.

"It's a much different proposition for us this time than it was last time, a lot more talent that they've got available, so it's going to be a tough challenge for us."

Seventh-placed Melbourne will be playing at home for the fourth time in five games.

Conversely, Saturday's fixture will be a fourth away assignment in a spell of five fixtures for Sydney, who have a 3-3 road record this season and an overall 8-4 log.

"We feel like we're okay, we haven't necessarily been great, we've got a lot of room for improvement," Gaze said.

Gaze said Sydney imports Josh Powell and Steve Blake, both of who joined the club after the season started and have been used mainly off the bench, were now fully integrated in to the team.

"They are great team guys generating a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy and playing a very significant role," Gaze said.

Gaze was optimistic centre Julian Khazzouh would play before Christmas after being sidelined for 11 months.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon