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Injury-plagued Northants set for new season

Northamptonshire go into their first game since promotion to Division One of the LV= County Championship with a host of well-publicised injury problems.

As if the challenge of taking on champions Durham is not difficult enough, Northants will do so without Alex Wakely and original overseas signing Jackson Bird – both of whom are out for the season.

To add insult to injury, Bird’s replacement, South Africa paceman Rory Kleinveldt, was yesterday forced to pull out of his move due to a knee injury.

With Kleinveldt now not heading to Wantage Road, the newly-promoted county again find themselves seeking an international player.

Furthermore, David Willey, Rob Keogh and James Kettleborough are also unlikely to be available due to injury.

In contrast, Durham are missing only England all-rounder Ben Stokes for the trip to Wantage Road.

Paul Collingwood, who was part of England’s coaching staff for the World Twenty20, will captain the side and showed his form with a hundred in this week’s practice game versus Durham MCCU.

Somerset have been dealt an injury blow ahead of their clash with Yorkshire at Taunton.

Seamer Steve Kirby has been forced to go under the knife due to an ankle injury and is set for four to six weeks on the sidelines.

Yorkshire will be without star wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow.

The England international fractured a finger in his left hand earlier this week and is expected to be sidelined for around six weeks.

That means Andrew Hodd comes into a squad featuring Ryan Sidebottom, who is rejuvenated after being rested for this week’s practice match.

Liam Plunkett, another who is included in the party, is relishing the challenge of facing a good Somerset line-up.

He told ecb.co.uk: “They are going to be strong; they always are, especially going down there in their conditions at their home ground. I’m sure if we go down there and fight, we will get a result.”

White Rose opening batsman Adam Lyth added: “To be honest, every team has got a chance to win the championship so we won’t be taking Somerset lightly. Hopefully we can play well down there and get a result.”​

At Lord's Middlesex will attempt to get back on track against a Nottinghamshire side targeting a second successive win.

Chris Rogers’ side fell to defeat in their opening game as Sussex emerged triumphant at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground.

Notts, on the other hand, got their campaign under way by overcoming newly promoted Lancashire.

Warwickshire, buoyed by having their full England contingent available, host Sussex at Edgbaston in the other top-flight game.

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who hit the first ton of the 2014 championship earlier this week, misses out for Sussex with an Achilles injury but England limited-overs all-rounder Chris Jordan returns after being rested in the win over Middlesex. Chris Nash is still sidelined.

LV= County Championship facts:

  • Warwickshire have not lost a home championship match to Sussex since 1982, winning 10 and drawing 12 of the 22 since.
  • The seven championship matches between Northamptonshire and Durham at Wantage Road have produced four home wins, two draws and one away win.
  • Middlesex’s last eight home championship matches against Nottinghamshire have produced one win apiece and six draws.
  • The three highest scores of 2013 came in Yorkshire matches. Alex Lees and Andrew Gale hit 275* and 272 versus Derbyshire and Notts respectively, while Chesney Hughes scored 270* against Yorkshire.
  • The six highest championship totals of 2013 were recorded in Division One. Yorkshire were involved in five of these, scoring 677, 617 and 572, while being on the receiving end of Surrey’s 634 and Durham’s 573.

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