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Leicestershire will have international duo Niall O’Brien and Rob Taylor available for the LV=CC trip to leaders Lancashire tomorrow.
O’Brien and Taylor have been representing Ireland and Scotland over the last week, with the duo playing against each other during a World Cricket League Championship game last Friday.
The duo are now back at Grace Road and are part of a 13-man squad that also includes Michael Thornely and Nathan Buck.
Thornely made two unbeaten centuries for the Second XI at Glamorgan last week while Buck also played in that match as part of his comeback from injury.
Angus Robson made a good 49 on debut at Gloucestershire, so looks set to keep his place at the top of the order. Tom Wells was twelfth man at Bristol and is again part of the squad for the visit to Old Trafford, which looks splendid after the recent redevelopment.
Leicestershire’s squad is certainly being stretched to the limit at present. Matthew Hoggard, Shiv Thakor and Josh Cobb will not make the trip to Lancashire, while Jigar Naik, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Robbie Williams and Anthony Ireland are also on the sidelines.
Ned Eckersley will be looking to continue his fantastic season. The 24-year-old has amassed 1,294 first-class runs this summer - just five behind the country’s leading scorer, Moeen Ali.
The prolific Eckersley has a maximum of four innings left as he looks to push towards 1,500 first-class runs, which would be a remarkable effort. Ollie Freckingham is County’s leading first-class wicket-taker with 35.
Leicestershire are eager to land an LV=CC victory before the campaign is out but the game in Manchester will be the biggest challenge of the season to date.
Not only are County facing the in-form team in the division, Lancashire have a huge incentive given they can also mathematically secure both promotion and the title this week if the game went to plan from their perspective.
Lancashire are 25 points clear of second placed Northants with a game in hand, so they are hunting a 23-point haul in order to win the league. Our opponents need 18 points to guarantee an instant return to Division One.
The Red Rose county are yet to lose a game, winning 8 of their 13 fixtures after suffering a surprise relegation last year. Simon Katich has passed the 1,000-run mark in the Championship while Ashwell Prince is closing in on that landmark.
Kyle Hogg, Simon Kerrigan and evergreen captain Glen Chapple have all taken in excess of 50 wickets. Chapple misses out this time through injury, so Paul Horton leads the side and paceman Kyle Jarvis is in line for his Lancashire debut.
Leics (from): Smith, Robson, Eckersley, Boyce, O’Brien, Thornely, Raine, Wells, Taylor, Sykes, Freckingham, Wyatt, Buck.
Lancs (from): Horton, Agathangelou, Davies, Hogg, Jarvis, Katich, Kerrigan, Newby, Prince, Procter, Reece, Smith.