Paul Horton returns in a 13-man Lancashire squad for this weekend's LV= County Championship match at Grace Road
The opening batsman has missed the last two months with a finger injury, but made his return with an unbeaten 82 in last week's 2ndXI match against Worcestershire..
Away from the bright lights of an Ashes Test match at Emirates Old Trafford, Lancashire’s cricketers are looking to get the club back to the promised land of the Championship’s top division.
A win against Leicestershire, starting on Friday, would not only strengthen their grip on promotion but also top spot in Division Two.
Squad: Glen Chapple (capt), Andrea Agathangelou, Gareth Cross (wkt), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Simon Katich, Simon Kerrigan, Arron Lilley, Ashwell Prince, Luke Procter, Luis Reece, Tom Smith, Wayne White
The Red Rose county go in search of four-day win number six in their eleventh match this season against a Leicester side bottom of the table and without a win in ten attempts.
It is one of those fixtures where those of us looking from the outside will be saying Lancashire should win given good weather.
But, quite rightly, those inside the camp are refusing to count any chickens, and they are determined not to under-estimate Foxes even though they will be without overseas batsman Joe Burns, who has had to return to Australia due to injury.
“There are some big games coming up. Winning games away from home in the Championship is always important, and I am sure it will be a good scrap,” said coach Peter Moores, who has seen his side win three out of their last four matches.
“They have good players, and we know we will have to work hard to win the game. The wickets down there tend to be pretty flat, which often suits us. We have to play well. We have found ourselves having to do that all year. We have managed to take winning opportunities.
“We have six big games to go, and we have to make sure we commit everything to each game. Then we can have no regrets. This is what we play for. The games are coming thick and fast, and we are trying desperately hard to stay in all three competitions for as long as we can.
“In one-day cricket, anything can happen in the knock-out stages. And if you win three games in T20, you win a trophy. We have had a good season so far. Now the last third starts. If we carry on playing well, we could end up with some silverware.”
Lancashire are the only unbeaten team in the Championship this season - across both divisions.
"We're going brilliantly in the Championship, and we have real momentum there. We'll be looking forward to Friday,” said captain Glen Chapple.
“We are in a great position, but we still need to win some games. I don't know how many, but our focus will be trying to win the next game. We will take it from there. There's no point trying to look too far ahead. We will just keep doing what we're doing and keep doing it well.”
This is Lancashire’s first trip to Grace Road in the Championship since August 3, 2005 when they won by 234 runs.
Iain Sutcliffe scored 93 in the first innings, Jimmy Anderson took seven wickets in the match, including a second-innings five-for, and Andrew Symonds scored 121 in the second innings.
Leicestershire, set 399 to win, were bowled out for just 164. Anderson, Chapple and Paul Horton are the only current Red Rose squad members who played in that match.
The two sides will meet again at Emirates Old Trafford in September.
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh