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Huggins Likes Liege Chances Of Progressing In EuroCup

08 January 2007
By Pete Thompson, PA Sport

Liege Basket's veteran forward Roger Huggins believes his side can benefit from being "an unknown quantity" and progress to the quarter finals of the EuroCup.

The Belgian side host Lithuanian outfit BC Siauliai in their opening Group I clash in Round II of the tournament on Tuesday night and although Huggins expects a tough test, he holds no fears.

Roger Huggins (Bnei-Hasharon)
Roger Huggins previous stops include Bnei-Hasharon in Israel.
"We have a good chance (of beating Siauliai). I don't know much about them, but being a Lithuanian side I expect them to have good athleticism, good shooters and be a quick team," said Huggins.

"We'll go and play hard, it's an unknown for us but they can't afford to take us lightly.

"I think we have a good enough team to compete, we tend to play good at home, there's no pressure on us so we can go out and enjoy it but we know it's going to be difficult," he added.

Liege were not expected to progress beyond the first round of the EuroCup and the 39-year-old Londoner, who is only contracted for the EuroCup and does not play in the Belgian top flight, thinks he and his team-mates can reach the knock-out stages.

"I don't see why we can't advance," he said.

"It'll be tough but we're going to be an unknown quantity and there will be no pressure on us, we can enjoy ourselves and that's what I'm telling the players."

Although the England international believes Giovanni Bozzi's side can progress beyond the second round, he insists it is far too premature to think about a place in the final four.

"I'll be honest and say we didn't expect to come this far, so it's way too early to think about winning," he said.

"I've told the players they might not get this sort of chance again. It's more important to put on a good show, it would be a surprise to get to the next round.

"We've just got to keep it real, we can't get too big headed. It's really a sidetrack from the (Belgian) league, it's a great experience and we just want to represent Liege as well as we can."

Despite their heroics on the continent, Liege are languishing in seventh in the Belgian League with seven victories and 10 defeats and Huggins, who doesn't feature in the domestic league, cannot put his finger on the reason for their below-par performances.

"It's difficult to know why we're struggling, but it all comes down to consistency, they don't play as a unit and have struggled to find their feet, as far the answers to why that is, I really don't know."

Huggins' team-mates may be entering unchartered territory in Europe, but the much-travelled forward had a taste of the final four during his time at Antwerp and on a personal level he is just happy to be playing.

"I'm having fun and enjoying myself," he said.

"I get to travel round all these different cities and get paid to do the greatest job in the world."

As well as taking on Siauliai, Liege will also face tough competition in the form of  Estudiantes of Madrid and Cypriot side DTL EKA AEL Lemesos in Group I.

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