Clark Optimistic Over GB Chances

07 September 2006
by Andrew Mullen, PA Sport

Coach Mark Clark believes Great Britain are more than capable of opening their EuroBasket Women qualifying campaign with a win despite facing a tough trip to Estonia.

Great Britain completed their preparations with back-to-back games against Ireland and Clark has quickly turned his attentions to the weekend's trip to Tallinn.

"We've just played Ireland in two games. We beat them on Tuesday and they beat us on Monday. We played the first game on the day we travelled which was good preparation and the second game we had more time to prepare and shot the ball better. We are now looking forward to Saturday's game," Clark told PA Sport.

Clark has highlighted the importance of opening the qualifying campaign with a win ahead of a home game with Luxembourg on September 16 and a difficult trip to Sarajevo to face Bosnia-Herzegovina four days later.

"As a country that was part of the old Soviet Union there is a big tradition of basketball in Estonia. They will play a typical type of Eastern European game," added Clark.

"We need to make good decisions with the basketball and use the size and height advantage we will have. Playing an away game in Europe is always tough but I believe the players are more then capable of doing it and starting with a win.

"Every away game in every European competition in any sport is important. If you can start with an away win it is psychologically a huge boost.

"Then we have got a week to prepare for the Luxembourg game, then we've got a tough trip to Bosnia so we hope to get our confidence high for that trip."

Clark has refused to set a points target for the upcoming qualifiers and insists Great Britain must leave themselves with a realistic prospect of progressing when the second round of games takes place next year.

"It's about getting the performance right and the results will look after themselves. It's an eight game season, it is the objective to still have a chance of qualifying at the end of these four games," he said.

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