Basketball: Bullets' squad under pressure

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The Independent Online
MARK ROBINSON, the All Star American, is set to become the next player to leave Birmingham Bullets, as the Budweiser League club try to gain a place in the League Trophy quarter-finals with just five senior players for tonight's group game against Greater London Leopards.

Mark Considine and Chuck Guittar left the club on Christmas Eve as the volatile chemistry between the squad blew up in the face of the coach, Mike Finger.

Robinson is out of tonight's game at the National Exhibition Centre because of a hand injury, but Finger refused to confirm that he will play for the club again.

Finger said: "He is still a member of the team but is unable to play because of injury. Will he play for us again? I don't know the answer."

Robinson was the big name summer signing from Sheffield Sharks partly to fill the gap when the leading scorer, Tony Dorsey, joined Manchester Giants. But Robinson was soon relegated to a role coming off the bench as Nigel Lloyd and Reggie Kirk continue to dominate the scoring.

Finger is experiencing a difficult second season after leading the club to the League runners-up spot and then winning the play-off title at Wembley. Following the decision by the owner Harry Wrublewski to return to Australia, the Bullets are now being controlled by the Basketball League until they find a new owner.

The League will have to ratify any new signings as Finger searches for a post player to replace the 6ft 10in Considine and to support Clive Allen and Fabulous Flournoy under the basket. He also needs a utility player to replace Guittar and, in all probability, Robinson.

Tonight Finger will need Allen, Lloyd, Kirk, Flournoy and Tony Simms to play all 40 minutes against a resurgent Leopards.

The League champions are only eighth in the table but last weekend reached the National Cup final and play the Sharks at the Sheffield Arena tomorrow week.

Now they can also take a place in the Trophy quarter-finals by beating Birmingham tonight, Edinburgh tomorrow and London Towers next Saturday.

Billy Mimms, the Leopards' coach, said: "I've always said this is a talented team and now we're getting them to think with the big game mentality.