Ripley excited about Old Trafford test

David Ripley could consider playing two spinners in Northants' clash with Lancashire at Old Trafford

David Ripley could consider playing two spinners in Northants' clash with Lancashire at Old Trafford

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First face second in Division Two of the County Championship tomorrow (Thursday).

Old Trafford, or Emirates Old Trafford if you go for the modern brand-naming way of things, is the venue as Northamptonshire come up against Lancashire.

A glance at the standings sees the County 33 points ahead of the Red Rose with Glen Chapple’s side having a game in hand on the leaders.

Both sides are in excellent form, are the only two with unbeaten records, and will be short odds to make the climb to the top flight.

All these factors should combine to make this an intriguing encounter and it was one that head coach David Ripley is looking forward to.

“I, and all the lads, can’t wait to get going,” he said.

“They were red-hot favourites to win the division at the start of the year and it will be good to pit oursleves against what is a first division club.

“It should be a good game and both sides are playing well at the minute.”

That is especially true of the home side who made the headlines last week after bowling Essex out for an astonishing 20 in an innings victory but Ripley believes that his side have the options to cope with whatever is put before them.

He added: “We’ve got players to cover all the bases.

“We’ve had a few niggles but everyone is fit and we should be at full strength.”

On-loan spinner Graeme White will again be in the squad after being left out of the XI who faced Leicestershire and Ripley feels that there is a good chance he could play in the north west at a ground that has traditionally offered assistance to the slower bowlers.

Ripley continued: “They’ve got a good left-arm spinner (Simon Kerrigan) and the wickets normally turn a bit up there.

“(Simon) Katich and (Ashwell) Prince are big players for them and are both left-handed and it could be handy for us to have someone turning the ball into them from the footholes.

“It’s a good option to have as we don’t exactly know what to expect but it’s nice to have another spinner available.”

Northants from: Wakely, Coetzer, Spriegel, Sales, Keogh, Hall, Middlebrook, Willey, Murphy, Crook, Daggett, White.