Randall to bite bullet with squad shake-up

Lance Randall, the Birmingham Bullets coach, began the search for new players immediately after Saturday's 94-76 home defeat against Sheffield Sharks.

Lance Randall, the Birmingham Bullets coach, began the search for new players immediately after Saturday's 94-76 home defeat against Sheffield Sharks.

Unless he beefs up his under-manned, under-sized and out-gunned line-up, Randall knows his team will struggle to even qualify for the Championship quarter-finals, let alone repeat last season's appearance in the Wembley final.

Sharks, with the deepest bench in the League, took their northern conference record to seven wins out of eight, although their coach, Chris Finch, admitted: "A couple of times I thought they might have us in trouble."

The athleticism and commitment of Yorick Williams and Brant Bailey brought the Bullets back to 58-54 down, but with Chris Watson, hampered by an ankle injury Randall had too few options on the bench.

"Sheffield wore us down mentally as much as physically," Randall said: "They handled the peaks and troughs of the game better. We succeeded to an extent in dragging them into foul trouble, but they always had someone else to throw at us."

The England internationals Iain McKinney and Michael Payne, who came off the bench to hit seven of the Sharks' 10 three-pointers, scored at 50 per cent. Bullets shot a woeful five from 27 attempts from beyond the arc.

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