Just three weeks after Christmas, this weekend’s break has come just at the right time for the Cheshire Phoenix.
Since stalwart Phil Brandreth left the club a fortnight ago they have effectively had a six-man rotation for their BBL Championship road trips to Durham Wildcats and London Lions.
And while they beat the Lions last Friday, it did not come without a cost.
Jerome Gumbs and Chez Marks are still carrying knocks and the other members of the starting five – Alif Bland, Gabe Haskins and Shawn Myers – are also getting increasingly banged up without the availability of bench players to offer respite during games.
Guard Chris Pearce is the only senior player head coach Matt Lloyd can call upon during games.
It is a problem that Phoenix managing group member Andrew Donaldson is acutely aware of, but seemingly powerless to change at the moment.
“Losing Phil was a big blow because he was doing a great job for us ,” he said.
“But we have no money for new players, we can’t afford to bring in anyone else.
“We can look at amateur players to come in and help out but at this stage of the season a lot of them are already committed to clubs.
“But we would be happy to speak to players who might be willing to help as a six man rotation only works if your squad remains injury free, and that is not the situation.”
The Phoenix have yet to play a home game in 2013 and fans must wait another 10 days for a game at the Northgate Arena but Donaldson insists that has not had an impact on the club’s finances.
“At the moment our game days are run on a break-even basis,” he said. “Our expenses are met by our income from sponsors.
“We have been through the campaign to save the club and keeping the show on the road but that was not the hard bit.
“Right now, in 2013, that is when the real work begins. We have to generate more income for this club, whether that be through increased gates or other means.
“We have been working over Christmas on the framework for or community programme which will be key for us next season but will not really kick in during this campaign.
“This month we have to try and consolidate our position on the court and try to keep the lads fit.”
Jerome Gumbs’ 20 point haul and Alif Bland’s 22 were enough to earn them each a place on the bench in the BBL Team of the Week.
A former Cheshire player, Gareth Murray, was chosen in the starting five.
Team of the Week recognises the 10 best player performances of the week in the BBL.