Head coach Ripley wants Northants to stake their top two claim at Yorkshire
Northants have the chance to stake a serious top two claim when they travel to Headingley to take on Yorkshire for their latest LV= Insurance County Championship Group 3 clash.
The fourth-placed County travel north for the encounter that starts on Thursday trailing second-placed Yorkshire by 13 points.
David Ripley’s men know that if they can claim a victory in Leeds then they can leapfrog the White Rose in the table.
That would certainly send out a message the County are serious contenders to qualify and compete for the Championship title in the play-offs later in the year.
Northants have won one, drawn one and lost one of their three games to date, and go to Yorkshire in great spirits after the brilliant run-chase to see off Glamorgan last weekend.
Yorkshire were also winners, recovering from being bowled out for 150 in their first innings to beat Sussex, and that came off the back of a huge win over struggling Kent.
They are second in the table behind neighbours Lancashire, and Leeds-born Ripley knows the match at Headingley is Northants’ chance to make a statement.
“That is how we are viewing it,” he said.
“We had the same chat before we went to Lancashire, and although we lost that game I think we showed enough in that game in different passages of play.
“No more than the final day when we nearly batted out for a draw on a turning pitch against a good spinner and a good side.
“It would be nice to go to Headingley and start the game well, get on the front foot a little bit and see if we can exert a little bit of pressure on them.
“It is always a good fixture, there is great tradition, a lovely stadium, and for me personally I like going back there, so we are looking forward to it.”
Yorkshire have confirmed they will be without England skipper Joe Root for the match against Northants, with the ECB asking for him to be rested after playing in the county’s opening three matches.
And Ripley admits that is something of a boost for his team.
“It is how the cards are dealt, and it can be a bit unfair, but that is just how it is with modern cricket,” said the head coach when asked about Root’s absence.
“That said, it has always been like that I guess.
“England players did used to play a lot more county cricket, but you could still meet teams when they were missing.
“I will be honest and say that I am really pleased Joe Root is not playing.
“He is a smashing lad, a lovely player and I like watching him because I am an England fan.
“I like what he is bringing to the England team, but I am quite happy he’s not playing against us.”
One England player who is set to play against Northants is off-spinner Dom Bess, who claimed six wickets in last Sunday’s win over Sussex.
As for Northants, left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan has recovered from his side strain and is in the squad, as is fast bowler Brandon Glover, for the first time this season, while Tom Taylor returns after being rested.
Dropping.out of the squad selected to ace Glamorgan are are injured skipper Adam Rossington, Nathan Buck and Jack White.
Rossington damaged finger ligaments last weekend, and his absence sees Riacardo Vasconcelos take over behind the stumps and captain the team, as well as open the batting.
Northamptonshire: Ricardo Vasconcelos (C/WK), Gareth Berg, Ben Curran, Emilio Gay, Brandon Glover, Rob Keogh, Simon Kerrigan, Wayne Parnell, Luke Procter, Ben Sanderson, Tom Taylor, Charlie Thurston, Saif Zaib
Yorkshire: Gary Ballance, Dom Bess, Harry Brook, Will Fraine, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Adam Lyth, Duanne Olivier, Steve Patterson (C), Mat Pillans, Jonny Tattersall (WK), Jordan Thompson, David Willey