David Ripley is expecting Northants to be in the shake-up once again in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
The Steelbacks start their campaign with a televised game against Warwickshire at the County Ground on Thursday (start time 12.30pm).
And confidence is high in the County camp after last season’s run to the quarter-finals.
Only a brilliant individual innings from Kumar Sangakkara saved Surrey, who won by one wicket in a last-eight thriller in Northampton.
And Ripley said: “We played some good cricket.
“That Surrey game was one of the games of the season really.
“It was a real rollercoaster game because we were a bit ahead, a bit behind, a bit ahead, a bit behind and I couldn’t see us losing when they were nine down.
“We just couldn’t quite finish the game and it was a disappointing way to lose but we could take something out of the way we played.
“We haven’t got a great deal of change in terms of personnel so we’re expecting to be in the shake-up again.
“We’ve got some good white-ball players and if we play well, we’ll take some beating.”
The Steelbacks secured NatWest T20 Blast glory last summer and have made a habit of upsetting the odds in white-ball cricket.
But they haven’t been too bad in the red-ball stuff recently either, with last week’s defeat at Worcestershire ending a five-match winning streak in County Championship Division Two.
“We fought well but we had chances to win and didn’t take them so it was disappointing,” Ripley said.
“We haven’t won our first three games at the start of a season ever so we had the chance to do something we’d not managed to do before and we did create opportunities to win.
“We were 50 for one in the first innings and not able to go on and get up to at least what Worcestershire got (188).
“I think about them scoring 45 for the last wicket in the second innings, which was pretty massive in a low-scoring game.
“We were still 122 for five, needing just 60ish and we didn’t manage to get there so we had chances and we’re disappointed we didn’t take them.
“We fought pretty hard and we were missing a few key players who would have helped our cause.”
And Ripley added: “After a loss, it’s good to change focus.
“We can put the Championship away now but we’ve come out of the blocks with a couple of wins and we’ll be much nearer the top than the bottom of the comp.
“Within three weeks, we’ll know where we are in the 50-over competition and it will either be done and dusted or we’ll be somewhere near where we want to be.
“We’re obviously looking for a good start, on television, at home against the holders so it’s a good way to start.”
Whereas Northants have enjoyed a strong start to the Championship stuff, Warwickshire have yet to win.
But Ripley says that will have no impact on the 50-over fixture.
“I don’t think it will matter a lot,” he said.
“They’ve got a lot of experienced players and it’s a completely different format.
“They won the competition last year and they will be the team to beat.
“With the experience they’ve got in their camp, I don’t think they will be panicking too much about the start they’ve had.
“This is a completely different format and one which they’re the holders in so I’m expecting them to be right up for it.”
Northants will be without injured duo Rory Kleinveldt and Ben Sanderson against Warwickshire, but Richard Gleeson returns to the squad.
Northants: Azharullah, Buck, Crook, Cobb, Duckett, Gleeson, Keogh, Rossington (wk). Newton, Levi, Wakely (c), White.
Warwickshire: Bell (c), Ambrose (wk), Barker, Clarke, Hain, Hannon-Dalby, Javid, Patel, Porterfield, Poysden, Thomason, Thornton, Trott, Wright.