Willey misses out as County hunt down promotion

David Willey
David Willey

Northamptonshire could seal promotion from LV= County Championship Division Two this week - but they will have to do it without David Willey.

The County entertain Kent at Wantage Road starting tomorrow knowing victory will put them in an almost unassailable position in second place and could send them up to the first division if their nearest rivals Essex fail to beat Glamorgan.

However, their talisman and star all-rounder Willey is not fit to take part. His absence does give Lee Daggett, who retires at the end of the season, a chance to say farewell to the County Ground, though.

Head coach David Ripley said: “Unfortunately he has not recovered from a problem in his back.

“He’s not responded to treatment as quickly as we had hoped.

“It is a blow because we are a better side when he is in it. His all-round contribution to the team is excellent.

“But we’ve had a fair number of injuries this season and people have always come in and stepped up.

“This gives Lee Daggett a chance to play.

“We probably didn’t expect to use him that much in the red ball stuff once the one-day cricket had finished.

“But he has looked good in practice and we hope the wicket will suit his style.

“He might also have an extra spring in his step and he will hope to go out on a high.”

Another change sees David Murphy return from international duty to reclaim the wicketkeeping gloves from his temporary replacement Jon Batty.

Ripley added: “Murphy is back to keep wicket and we will be keeping Matt Spriegel to bat at seven.

“We don’t think it will turn enough to include Graeme White but Matt can offer some back-up spin if needed.

“He’s in primarily to give us a left-handed option in the middle order but he also gives an option with the ball on day three and four if we need it.”