By Matt Somerford
Yorkshire will bid to beat Lancashire in a Roses championship match for the first time in 12 years this week.
Yorkshire are flying high in the LV= County Championship this season but, with some of their England players now on international duty, face their cross-border rivals with their recent hoodoo hanging over their heads.
Lancashire are unbeaten in 14 four-day Roses matches, dating back to August 2002, but sit in the relegation places after managing just one win from their opening five games of this campaign.
Yorkshire may therefore be favourites to break their Roses drought, but will be without England duo Joe Root and Gary Ballance at least from the team that beat Warwickshire by an innings last time out.
Tim Bresnan may be allowed to join up with his county if he is overlooked for Sunday’s second Royal London one-day international against Sri Lanka at Emirates Durham ICG.
The match will also be Kane Williamson’s last before he joins New Zealand’s tour of West Indies, and Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale is expecting a typically hard-fought derby battle.
“This is what it’s all about. Players on both sides look forward to this game,” Gale told the club's website.
“It has been quite a spicy affair over the past few years and that will no doubt continue in this game coming up.
“When you represent your county you go into every game wanting to win, but when it’s Lancashire it goes up another notch of intensity.”
Gale is ignoring Lancashire’s indifferent form, adding: “They will be disappointed with their start, but it is not a reflection on how good they are as a team. They have some quality players and a side with experience. If we take them lightly we will come a cropper.”
Yorkshire head into the match third in the table and having won both their home games by an innings.
“In the championship we have done well. I would probably give us an eight out of 10 so far,” Gale said.
“We have been very good at Headingley and our aim was to make Headingley a fortress in 2014.
“Over the years this hasn’t been the case for differing reasons. I think now we have found a formula for winning games at Headingley.”
In the absence of their England players Yorkshire could recall opener Alex Lees, wicketkeeper Andy Hodd and veteran left-armer Ryan Sidebottom after they were included in their 12-man squad.
Lancashire will be without England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, so Alex Davies is set to return behind the stumps.
Opener Luis Reece is looking forward to his first Roses encounter, telling Lancashire's website: "
"You don't have to get fired up for a Roses match," he said.
"It will be my first one in terms of playing against Yorkshire with Lancs, although I've played against them before in Uni cricket.
“It shows with the crowds for Roses matches, especially the T20s, just what it means to people. It's like Man Utd and Man City. It will be a great game, and I'm sure all the lads will be fired up and ready to go at them hard.”
Stuart Broad has been named in the Nottinghamshire squad for the visit of champions Durham at Trent Bridge.
Broad has been sidelined by a knee injury since the World Twenty20 - ruling him out of the one-day internationals against Sri Lanka - but has been earmarked to play in Notts’ next two four-day games as the first Investec Test looms next month.
Team director Mick Newell, who is also an England selector, told the Nottingham Post: "It's always good to have your England players back. Hopefully he can make a big impact in these two championship games.
"He'll still be eager to prove a point with England selection coming up.
"He's ready. He's had a couple of weeks bowling and is looking pretty sharp."
Should Broad get the nod to play he could form a fearful pace duo with Australia’s Peter Siddle, who the England man removed to win the Ashes series in Durham last summer.
Andy Carter has dropped out of the 12-man squad with the fit-again Steven Mullaney also included.
Warwickshire opener William Porterfield knows his side face a tough task as they aim to bounce back from their wide-margin defeat against Yorkshire, when they host second-placed Somerset.
“You know what you are getting with Somerset, they are a strong side and are always very competitive,” Porterfield told ecb.co.uk.
“Marcus Trescothick is coming into some very good form and they have a very good batting line-up and a very good bowling attack.
“I think in Division One this year anyone can beat anyone. We have got to put last week's game against Yorkshire to bed and not take anything from that into Sunday's game.
“We will have to be on top of our game come Sunday and start the game every well."
The Bears must fill the void left by Ian Bell and Chris Woakes, but Rikki Clarke is part of a 13-man squad alongside Boyd Rankin who could return to first-class cricket for the first time since England’s Ashes tour in the winter.
Somerset, who are the only unbeaten county in the top division, have included Alex Barrow and James Burke in their 13-man list after good form with the second XI.
LV= County Championship facts
* Durham have won their past three Championship matches against Nottinghamshire, despite losing the toss in each.
*Somerset have won the toss in each of their last eight Championship meetings with Warwickshire. These matches have produced three wins apiece and two draws.
* Yorkshire and Lancashire have drawn 11 of their past 14 Championship meetings. Lancashire have won the other three contests, including the two most recent, in 2011.