A lot has changed in the 13 days since the Cheshire Phoenix last played in the capital.
Matt Lloyd’s side head down south to face London Lions in the BBL Championship less than a fortnight after knocking them out of the BBL Trophy.
But tomorrow night’s game at Crystal Palace will be a very different prospect.
The Phoenix will be without one of their most experienced campaigners, Phil Brandreth, whose 10-minute stint last time the sides met was his last appearance in a Phoenix jersey before his switch to Sefton Stars.
And injury problems for Lions coach Vince Macauley mean Phoenix forward Shawn Myers is no longer the BBL’s oldest player.
The 43-year-old’s record has been surpassed by the return of 45-year-old Richard Scantlebury for the Lions, coaxed out of retirement by the Lions’ injury crisis.
He will hope to celebrate his 46th birthday tomorrow night with a win and three steals which would give him 250 career steals in the BBL.
With the Lions in eighth – the final play-off spot – and the Phoenix in seventh, a win is crucial for Lloyd’s men.
“Last time we got the result we were after through hard work and playing together,” said Lloyd. “Our defence was good and our offence matched it, although we did let them get closer than they should have considering the players they had missing.
“Their team is well balanced and is well lead by key people that have had a lot of BBL experience, they have a very fast game plan on offence and look to make team earn their points from the free throw line.”
Rival coach Macauley has bucked the trend in the BBL to consider Myers a waning star, singling him out as the key man for the Phoenix.
“Shawn Myers is the X factor I believe,” he said. “Although he is limited in how often he can turn in those vintage performances, if he has one of them they become difficult to stop.
“Jerome Gumbs has also settled in well and appears a good team-mate to have for the Phoenix.
“Injury has blighted us but we coped well with their zone last time out and asked them some difficult questions.”
- See the latest episode of Firewire with Cheshire Phoenix guard Gabe Haskins below: