Thursday, 13 August 2009

Finch faces loss of more faces for 02

Great Britain’s preparations for Eurobasket have been hit by a growing absentee list as Andrew Betts and Flinder Boyd became the latest duo to be ruled out of this weekend’s Game On tournament at London’s 02 Arena.

Boyd has picked up an injury and will be rested as a precaution. However Betts’ departure from the GB camp has been cited by one team insider as for personal reasons. “We were told he has gone to Spain to deal with something personal,” said the source. “But no-one knows whether he’ll be back or even whether he is out of the Euros.”

Uncapped centre Jamie Vanderbeken has been released by head coach Chris Finch, having being ruled out indefinitely due to an injury picked up on the opening day of training camp.

Despite the return to practice of Steve Leven on Wednesday, it has left Finch having to alter his strategy from a largely inside game to a perimeter approach until he regains his intended first-choice line-up.

Newcastle centre Tafari Toney and Spanish-based forward Dzaflo Larkai are both due to fly in from the USA to beef up the depleted ranks ahead of Friday’s encounter with Poland. Due to prior commitments Stateside, Larkai will not arrive until next week.

However Robert Archibald, another of those who will watch from the sidelines at The 02, insists GB can still proceed ahead.

"We have enough players with talent so there are definitely going to be guys who can step up, but it's important to always remember we are a team,” he said. "Already from two years ago it's evident we are continuing to take steps forward by the way things are done.”

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