DEVON could be forced to make a late change to their early order batting yet again for the Minor Counties game against Oxfordshire at Sidmouth starting on Sunday.
Availability problems have plagued Devon all season in the front three, with different combinations named in every game so far.
Director of cricket Keith Donohue had named an unchanged 12 for the game against Oxfordshire, the last in the Championship this season which would have meant going with Rob Holman, James Burke and Matt Thompson at one, two and three.
However, Burke has warned Devon he is almost certainly required to play for Somerset 2nd XI next week, which will rule him out.
And that leaves Donohue with a dilemma he has had to face a bit too often this season.
"We are not professionals, people have jobs and other lives as well and can't always find three days for cricket," said Donohue.
"In a perfect world we would have a settled squad of 15-16 players, but it ain't a perfect world.
"If James can't play we will check with Seb Benton and see if he is fit enough to get through three days after his recent injury problems.
"If Seb isn't around then we may throw in one of the youngsters from the U19s."
Donohue gave no clues about which youngster he had in mind, however Exeter's Ben Green has been catching the eye in the Premier Division, as has Bovey opener Sam Wyatt-Haines, while Plympton's Josh Mailing has a recent hundred to his name for the U19s.
A win over Oxfordshire could see Devon finish as high as fourth in the Western Division, which would be a reasonable showing at the end of a transitional season.
Donohue is new to his job, skipper Josh Bess took over partway through the season and a clutch of players such as Matt Golding, Rhys Davies and Will Squire are all finding their feet.
Donohue said he had learned a lot this season, not always what he had expected either.
"I have learned we have a lot of promising young players in Devon and that the future looks good for us.
"What has surprised me is how few of the good youngsters playing for Devon U17s are actually in their club 1st XIs on a Saturday afternoon.
"The clubs who do bring the youngsters on are seeing the benefits and if more did the same it would help Devon create some new glory days.
"I have also been learning about players' attitude to playing for Devon: who is up for it and who isn't. That has been an eye opener at times."
Devon lost a manufactured run-chase against Cheshire last time out when the only major thing wrong with the game was the weather.
Small improvements can make a big difference though and Donohue has one he would like to see in the final match.
"We have to be better in the field and avoid dropping off, which we are prone to at times," said Donohue.
"It is hard to score runs at this level – at least it should be – and we need to stop giving away soft ones."
Devon (from): J E Burke (Budleigh), R J Holman (Exeter), M W Thompson (Torquay), D F Lye (Exmouth), J J Bess (Sidmouth), A P W Allen (Exmouth), R W Davies (Tavistock), T S Anning (Exmouth), C Bradley, M C Golding (both Bovey), W D Squire (Bradninch), M J L Kidd (Budleigh).
DEVON Lions are in action on Sunday against South African touring side Futura Sports at Brixham (11.30 am).
Futura are over from Durban for three weeks to tour the UK and take part in the Last Man Standing World Championships.
Before heading to Lord's for the championship curtain-raiser on Sunday, August 25, the tourists have arranged a Devon leg to their trip.
The connection is coach Patrick Steytler, who was Brixham's player-coach between 2002-2004.
Devon Lions: J Mailing (Plympton), B G Huxtable (North Devon), D Hardy (Bradninch), M H Curtis (North Devon), J F S Dart (Budleigh), S R Wyatt-Haines (Bovey Tracey), C Evans-Grainger, B Searle (both Exeter), J P Richardson (Torquay), H Kerton (Plymstock), J Popham (Barnstaple & Pilton), M Plowman (Budleigh).