Ripley’s focus is on promotion

County interim head coach David Ripley takes charge of the Steelbacks for the first time at Worcester tonight
County interim head coach David Ripley takes charge of the Steelbacks for the first time at Worcester tonight

Northamptonshire’s interim head coach David Ripley is of the opinion that promotion in the County Championship is attainable..

Ripley’s first game in charge of the senior team takes place at New Road this evening as the Steelbacks play their penultimate Friends Life t20 group game against the Worcestershire Royals.

Qualification for the last eight is already out of the equation as is a last four spot in the Clydesdale Bank 40, but a top two finish in the four-day game is in reach with the County currently lying in fourth place, seven points behind the promotion places albeit having played a game more than two of the sides above them.

And this is where Ripley’s focus will be directed.

He said: “We’re out of the Twenty20 and the CB40 so we’ll have to take a different view of those competitions.

“Promotion is definitely a priority with seven games left and that is the challenge that faces us.

“To achieve that would be a great feeling and it could still turn out to be a great season for Northants if we can get that.”

With Ripley doing all but place every egg he owns in the one basket, the other two competitions will inevitably be given less attention but that doesn’t mean they will be discarded completely.

With contracts up and Ripley forming an opinion on the strengths or otherwise of the playing squad, the white ball games will offer differing opportunities.

He added: “It might be that we play some of the younger players and give them a chance to impress or those who are coming back from injury.

“There are also those whose contracts will be up for renewal so there are things for me to explore.”

That starts tonight and Ripley stated that a revolution shouldn’t be expected.

“I don’t envisage making too many changes and it will be more about gearing up and getting organised,” he said.

“I’ve only been doing the job for a couple of days and while I’ve grown into it a bit, I’m still finding my feet.

“I want the players to express themselves on the field.

“The lads haven’t been playing well, that’s obvious, and my immediate aim is to change that.”