NO CLUB wants to rely on substitute professionals but Oswaldtwistle Immanuel skipper Gerard Metcalf knows it can also work to a team's advantage.
Immanuel were facing a huge game last Saturday against bottom club Barnoldswick in a scrap at the foot of the table.
Ossy were higher placed that the Burnley club but Barlick were able to call on the services of a sub pro from the Lancashire League - in this case Enfield's star man Brandon Hiini.
"It is hard at the moment as such a lot of the teams are using sub professionals and Barnoldswick were a stronger side with Brandon in the team," said Metcalf. "He had sub pro-ed for them the week before so I expected it but it does make a difference."
Luckily for Oswaldtwistle, they got Hiini out for a duck after he faced just three balls and, although he did go on to take five wickets, Immanuel scraped through to a morale boosting win.
"It is always a relief to get the pro out but we made heavy weather of it in the end," said the skipper.
Barnoldswick had set the target of just 102 with Immanuel pro Ahmer Saeed taking 6-45 - his first five wicket haul of the campaign.
"It is the first time he has really been consistent with the ball," said Metcalf. "He has done well runs-wise but has been playing with one or two injuries up to now.
"The best of him is yet to come but this was the best he has bowled this season and hopefully he will go on and get more wickets to accompany his runs."
The skipper chipped in with four wickets but then it was a fight with the bat as Hiini threatened to dispose of the batting order.
But a late unbeaten 28 by Paul Dignan saw Immanuel through to only their second win of the season with two wickets to spare.
"I would have been disappointed if we hadn't beat Barnoldswick but we made hard work of it," continued the skipper.
"I have been slightly disappointed by the way things have gone this season but then perhaps I expected too much as it is a transitional season and we have a lot of new players coming in and they will take time to gel.
"The table is by no means clear cut yet as anyone can beat anyone and there isn't a lot between a number of sides.
"No one is favourite and with the number of sides who use sub pros, it does depend on who the clubs can get.
"It will have a big say on the league as they can have a strong pro one week which will affect the result and then, if other teams are playing, a weaker one the week after. It makes it difficult to predict."
However he is hoping his own side - with Saeed firmly in place - can make the move towards mid-table especially with bonus points up for grabs and the maximum of 12 points for a win.
"I think usually at the half way stage you can view how the table may look but it is not that cut and dried," said Metcalf.
"If you are 15 points behind a team it is not that much this season. If you play well and lose you can still pick up five or six bonus points and that is what we need to be doing."
However this weekend's task is a tough one with a trip to second placed Padiham.
"They are a good side and have strength in depth which perhaps other sides don't have," said the captain. "But it is a pretty open league, we have beat Great Harwood this season and you never know."
While Immanuel are looking upwards, Baxenden are looking over their shoulders.
They still occupy pole position but it was nerve racking in their narrow four wicket win over Earby.
Opener Callum Waddington made 55 for the table toppers while pro Jonathan Fielding chipped in with a valuable 38 - and there were only three balls left when they secured the win.
They face Ribblesdale Wanderers tomorrow looking to increase their three point cushion over Padiham. They are also in Lancashire Cup action against Fleetwood Hesketh on Sunday.
GREAT HARWOOD are on a march and moved into fourth spot but will be praying that professional Jermaine Lawson finally arrives in time for tomorrow's clash against Earby.
They club have been anticipating his arrival for the last few weeks but it seems he has now got a visa and was expected to land at Manchester airport yesterday.
Paul Houldsworth's side have been reliant on sub pros with Rishton's Saeed Anwar Junior proving a hit in their 57-run win over Read last weekend.
Anwar made 37 but it was Peter Sleep who was the driving force with 63 in their 179-8.
The sub paid man then took four wickets - with Sleep taking three - to keep Read at bay and move Harwood within striking distance at the top of the table.