THE full impact of the financial difficulties which forced Durham to seek an ECB bail-out is now clear after this week's drubbing at Hove.

Brave talk of a swift return to division one always looked fanciful. Now, with 18 points from three games, they are still on minus 30 and their best hope is to achieve respectability.

Even before the ECB dished out their swingeing points deductions, the reductions in staff left Durham highly vulnerable and with Graham Onions taking the casualty total to five they are down to the bare bones.

Hove is not a happy hunting ground for Onions, who broke down there at a similar stage three years ago and made only one more appearance that season.

A second back operation followed and while he awaits a scan after suffering more pain during this week's defeat by Sussex, any back trouble cannot be good news for the 34-year-old former Test bowler.

Coach Jon Lewis said: “Graham needs a bit more assessment. Our squad is not as deep as it has been and the injury list is enough to stretch us. It’s not out of the question that we will look to sign a player on loan.

“But I wouldn’t want to play someone on loan at the expense of one of our own. Barry McCarthy has finished with Ireland so he’ll be coming down to Swansea.”

Onions' injury is a big blow for a player who has his sights on passing Simon Brown's record of 518 first-class wickets for Durham. With nine from three games, Onions is now on 504.

If he were fit to play at Swansea today, Onions would be the only survivor of the 22 on duty when Durham last met Glamorgan in four-day cricket in 2004.

That was Marcus North's season with Durham and in an otherwise modest campaign, in which he averaged 31.4, he scored 219 at Cardiff in a rain-affected draw.

On their only previous visit to Swansea, Durham won by six wickets in 1995. Darren Blenkiron scored 145 and shared a stand of 177 with Stewart Hutton as they knocked off 343.

However, that was even before Lewis's time with the club and it would not have been a happy journey from Hove to Swansea after defeat by an innings and 177 runs.

“We can’t dwell on this but we have to give it a bit of thought and take the harsh lessons out of it,” said Lewis.

“It’s been a difficult start and we haven’t fronted up as well as we would have liked. As a team we need to be better.

“Our bowling hasn’t created enough pressure. If we’re not taking wickets we must create pressure.

“Ryan Pringle deserves a lot of credit from the Hove game. He batted for about a day, counting both innings, and he bowled a lot of overs.”

McCarthy has been playing for Ireland in the tri-series against New Zealand and Bangladesh alongside Peter Chase, the seamer who made a brief impact for Durham at the end of 2015 before missing the following season through injury. In the current climate they might resume their interest in him.

Usman Arshad made his comeback purely as a batsman and hit 92 this week for the second team against MCC Young Cricketers, while Brydon Carse needs at least another week.

Michael Richardson could be fit for the visit of Northamptonshire on June 2.