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Sharks duo battling injuries ahead of crucial clash

Southland Sharks captain Duane Bailey is under an injury cloud heading into Friday night's game against the Canterbury Rams in Invercargill.

The Southland Sharks duo of captain Duane Bailey and guard Hayden Allen are in doubt for their round eight National Basketball League clash with the Canterbury Rams.

Both players sat out last week's comfortable 97-67 victory over the Taranaki Mountain Airs and will be assessed on game day ahead of Friday night's fixture at ILT Stadium Southland.

Bailey has been battling a leg injury throughout the season and is being managed by the Southland Sharks medical team.

"His injury is just a little bit up and down, so his injury is going to be a long term management plan with him, he has had trouble since the start of the season, it is probably something that won't go away in a hurry," Sharks coach Judd Flavell said.

"So we will just do the best we can to manage him and the medical staff will help him through that process, we are hoping he is going to be good."

"If he is not right, we definitely won't push him at a time when the game is not the last game of the season as such, we will just make sure that we continue to manage him."

Veteran guard Hayden Allen is also battling a groin injury and is unlikely to play against the Rams.

"We will take caution with that one and make sure we give him time to get fully recovered," Flavell said.

The Sharks sit in second position on the table with 12 competition points from six wins and three losses, but will face a tough challenge against the third placed Rams who will welcome back Mike Karena and 2016 league MVP Mckenzie Moore to their already strong rotation.

Flavell is hoping the Sharks can continue their impressive defensive effort from their recent game against Taranaki, which saw them concede just 67 points.

"We are just on the back of last week's game against the Airs, I think that was a good defensive outing for us, you know, one of our best of the season we are going to need that coming into Canterbury especially with their latest additions," he said.

"They are going to be quite the handful to try to control and contain, especially when they have already got potent scorers like Marcel Jones and Ethan Rusbatch and Jeremy Kendle."

​"This is a team that can put points on the board in a hurry and they play at a very high tempo so for us a lot of the focus like it is every week is going to be on the defensive end."

Both teams will be hunting for competition points as the scramble for playoff spots intensifies heading into the final month of the regular season.

"For us Canterbury will present some different challenges, so I am looking forward to hitting this game with their challenges and just seeing where we are at defensively," Flavell said.

"We are really happy with the effort last week, but this week Canterbury will present different challenges especially with the way they play offensively and I am looking forward to the match up."

Friday's game doubles as the Annual Charity Game, which will this year benefit Hospice Southland.

Meanwhile, promising Southland basketball player Mac Stodart has been selected in the New Zealand U16 boys' team to travel to Australia in July to take on some of Australia's top junior teams.

At a glance

What: Southland Sharks vs Canterbury Rams

When: Friday 7pm

Where: ILT Stadium Southland

Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times

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