Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley is happy with the spirit in his squad despite the difficult start they have had to the season.
Life in the LV= County Championship Division One has been tough for Ripley’s men with a draw against Durham followed by losses to both Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Now the rise in standard you see in the top flight becomes even more apparent as they prepare to take on a Nottinghamshire side with at least half-a-dozen Test players in their ranks.
Not that Ripley has many concerns.
“We have had a bit of tough start but we are by no means downhearted,” he said.
“We wouldn’t want to be marooned at the bottom for too long but were are confident we can step things up.
“Against Durham and Lancashire we competed fairly well in places.
“Okay, the Yorkshire game didn’t go so well but we know we can compete we just need to do it for longer in the games.
“We have talked about life in Division One a lot and we are not going to back off now.
“We’ve slugged it out well in a couple of the games. Now we need to raise ourselves again.
“The biggest difference has been the quality of bowling we have encountered.
“Now we are going to face Peter Siddle, who Notts have got for the whole of the season, and that will be another good test for us.”.
The return to fitness of a few players has given Ripley a welcome boost.
The team has effectively picked itself for the games so far, those that are fit play.
But David Sales returned to action in the university game against Durham, although bowler Olly Stone does miss out.
Ripley explained: “The decision we have to make is whether David comes back in and, if so, who he replaces.
“He looked in decent form in the first innings at Durham so he comes into consideration.
“Maurice Chambers is also back in the squad for Olly Stone.
“Olly’s chipped his finger and, although he’s bowling, it is the batting and fielding that are difficult for him.
“It’s unfortunate for him because he bowled particularly well on the third day against Lancs.
“He’s probably another week away from being ready, though.”