Northamptonshire all-rounder David Willey will not play in this weekend’s LV= County Championship clash with Middlesex at Lord’s.
The 24-year-old made his first Championship appearance of the summer in the innings and 200-run reverse at Old Trafford after recovering from a back injury.
But head coach David Ripley has revealed that his charge still isn’t at 100 per cent - he only bowled 18 overs out of 141 in Manchester - and he is unwilling to risk him with more than half of the season remaining.
He said: “We needed David to be playing in the Twenty20 this week and there are games on both Thursday and Friday after the Lord’s game.
“He’s not quite up to playing in all of that, he did feel his back at bit at Old Trafford and he isn’t at 100 per cent fitness quite yet.”
Willey’s absence will probably result in a recall for either Olly Stone or Maurice Chambers and a decision will be taken on whether to stick with a second spinner in the shape of Graeme White or bolster the batting.
Ripley added: “It depends on whether or not we want to get six bowlers on the teamsheet.
We’ll have a look when we get there and make a decision after looking at the pitch.
“Graeme (White) will travel with us or it could be that we put in another batsman to strengthen the order.”
Another absentee will be Richard Levi who has a long-standing family engagement and his place in the squad will be taken by James Kettleborough.
Kettleborough has yet to make a Championship appearance for the club with his only first-class outing coming in the game against Sri Lanka earlier this month.
At the halfway point in their four-day schedule, the County have accumulated just 32 points and are 70 from seventh place - currently occupied by Sussex and safety..
They do have two games in hand over the two sides immediately above them but if the slim hopes of climbing out of the hole they are in are to be maintained, a victory in London is a must.
Northants from: Peters, Middlebrook, Kettleborough, Spriegel, Newton, Duckett, Hall, Crook, White, Azharullah, Chambers, Stone, Keogh.