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McClenaghan heads up Worcestershire push

By Rob Barnett

Worcestershire will have New Zealand paceman Mitchell McClenaghan spearheading their attack as they seek to take another step towards LV= County Championship promotion.

The Division Two leaders cannot go up in this round of games, which start tomorrow, but victory over Derbyshire at the 3aaa County Ground will all but secure a return to Division One.

Left-armer McClenaghan, a limited-overs international who is yet to play Test cricket, has had his stay with Worcestershire extended for the county’s last three games.

Director of Cricket Rhodes told the club’s website: "Mitch hasn't played (much red-ball cricket) and that is one of the reasons he wanted to come here in the first place and, now he has extended, he knows we've got red-ball cricket coming up.

"He wants to be a Test bowler and if he is going to be a Test bowler then he needs to produce the goods in his own domestic first-class cricket as well as being on show and in the shop window here in county cricket.

Mitchell McClenaghan continues to be available to Worcestershire as the Division Two leaders close in on LV= County Championship promotion

"There is a method behind the madness and that is to try and impress the people with the red ball."

Worcestershire are without England all-rounder Moeen Ali and have added former Derbyshire all-rounder Ross Whitely to their squad for the match.

The seventh-placed hosts are set to include their former all-rounder Wayne White, who has joined on loan from Lancashire until the end of the season.

Derbyshire have added Chesney Hughes, Ben Slater and Scott Elstone to their squad. India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who has replaced Marcus North as overseas player, is not yet available.

Second-placed Hampshire play their game in hand over Surrey, who sit in third. Bottom side Leicestershire are the visitors to the Ageas Bowl.

Hampshire have named an unchanged squad from the one that beat Kent in their last championship fixture and director of Cricket Giles White said: “We are well-placed in the division and we need to build on that to make sure we play good cricket and get over the line.

“Their division placing means that they are not under pressure and they can play with freedom and that makes them dangerous. They’ve got talented players, but we know if we can play well then hopefully we will come out on top.”

Leicestershire are missing leading wicket-taker Nathan Buck due to injury while all-rounder Ben Raine remains sidelined. Alex Wyatt and Atif Sheikh are therefore included in a 13-man squad.

The other Division Two match in this round sees fifth-placed Kent take on Glamorgan, who lie three spots below them.

The Welsh county have named youngsters Kieran Bull and Jack Murphy in a 12-strong squad to travel to the Spitfire Ground.

Kent were in action yesterday evening when they beat Gloucestershire to reach the Royal London Cup semi-finals. The hosts are without Doug Bollinger, who has returned to Australia to prepare for the Champions League T20, and are also set to be missing Mark Davies, Brendan Nash and Calum Haggett due to injury.

LV= County Championship facts

* Worcestershire have won four and drawn one of their last five championship matches at Derby.

* Three of the four highest run-scorers in Division Two play for Hampshire: James Vince, Will Smith, and Jimmy Adams. Worcestershire’s Daryl Mitchell has the most.

* Kent’s defeat against Hampshire in their last fixture ended an 11-match unbeaten run at home in the championship.

* Leicestershire have failed to win any of their last 29 away championship fixtures, last winning on the road in September 2010. Overall they are winless in 28 championship games.

* Three bowlers have taken more than 150 championship wickets since the start of the 2012 season: Steve Magoffin, Tim Murtagh and Jeetan Patel.

* Dan Redfern (70.4%) has scored the highest percentage of runs in boundaries this season (500-plus balls faced).

* James Tomlinson has taken 16 championship opening batsmen wickets this season, more than anyone else.

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