Van der Wath blow for Northants

Lv County Championship

Johan van der Wath

Northamptonshire's pace attack must make do without its leader and quickest member Johan van der Wath

Northamptonshire are severely weakened by the absence of three key campaigners for the LV= County Championship clash with Gloucestershire at Wantage Road.

David Sales is still yet to play a match this season due to his knee ligament injury, and he is joined on the sidelines by strike bowler Johan van der Wath and opening batsman Stephen Peters.

Van der Wath is out for up to a month with the knee cartilage injury he suffered during Northamptonshire’s draw with Kent at Canterbury last week.

The South African’s absence leaves a giant hole in the county’s pace attack. Steven Crook is likely to make his first championship appearance of the season in his place.

Peters, who scored a century against Kent, damaged his thumb in the Steelbacks’ six-wicket defeat to Lancashire in the Friends Provident Trophy yesterday.

Their absence is offset by the return of wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien, who returns from Ireland’s victorious World Cup qualifying campaign in South Africa. O’Brien will surely open the batting if Peters is absent.

Northamptonshire give a recall to Alex Wakely, who hit an unbeaten 180 from 147 balls for Bedfordshire in their MCCA Knockout Trophy match with Oxfordshire at Ampthill yesterday.

Craig Spearman and James Franklin are included in Gloucestershire’s 12-man squad despite missing Sunday’s FP Trophy humbling of Surrey.

Franklin, the New Zealand Test all-rounder, was carrying a minor hamstring injury which caused him to sit out the Gladiators’ 128-run victory.

Spearman was nursing a thigh injury, and could open the batting with either Kadeer Ali or William Porterfield, who impressed with 74 on his return from the World Cup qualifiers in South Africa.

Steve Snell reclaims the gloves from Gloucestershire’s one-day wicketkeeper Steven Adshead.

Richard Dawson remains out with an ankle injury, so will not face his former county.