Newcastle Eagles could respond to the loss of one Great Britain star with an audacious bid to lure another to the club as his replacement. The Chronicle understands the club are interested in making a move to try to persuade the hugely influential and talented Andrew Sullivan to move back to the North-East.
However, this would depend on whether his current Belgian club Mons are prepared to release him from his contract. Crucially, the Eagles – and in particular the player himself – would certainly not want to upset Mons play-caller Chris Finch, who also doubles up as the Great Britain coach.
Both Eagles chief Paul Blake and player-coach Fab Flournoy have huge respect for Finch and enjoy a good relationship. I suspect this could pave the way for a formal enquiry. Meanwhile, Sullivan is close to Finch, the man who handed him the chance to be captain of his country.
It will be intriguing to see if there is any interest from the Londoner should any proposed move be put to the pair.
While the likelihood of a return for Sullivan, who left Tyneside to go to Spanish giants Badalona 18 months ago, may seem remote, having received a transfer fee from Everton for the services of Richard Midgley, the club is in a good position to land a big name in coming weeks.
Another attractive option for the Eagles could be an approach to Spanish club Palencia to see if ex-BBL All Star ‘Super’ Ted Berry would be interested in a return to the BBL. The Scottish Rocks icon was a hugely popular player during his time in British basketball and would certainly fit the bill perfectly as far as fans are concerned.
The departure of Midgley has undoubtedly left the Eagles short-handed. With Tom Sherlock having also quit, the injuries which continue to plague the remaining players could leave an impressive campaign in danger of imploding. With a great shot at the league title and a place in the BBL Cup final at stake tomorrow, the next few weeks could prove to be pivotal in the context of the season.
While Blake is unlikely to panic and rush in a new face, there is a need to act sooner rather than later.
The events of this week have almost left the semi-final clash with the Scottish Rocks in Crawley as nothing more than a sideshow. The fact Flournoy could be without Jeremy Hyatt as well as Midgley has been almost forgotten.
The player-coach is sweating on the fitness of Hyatt and praying that a rest last weekend will pay-off.
Flournoy said: ‘We will try to squeeze some minutes out of him.’
If Hyatt does not play a major role in the game, it will give Flournoy just six senior players to use in the game – hardly ideal preparation for the biggest game of the season.