Smith sets out his targets for the summer

Stephen Peters will be aiming to consolidate the County's top flight status this season
Stephen Peters will be aiming to consolidate the County's top flight status this season

Expectations for the 2014 season will be high according to Northamptonshire chief executive David Smith.

With the County’s first competitive outing just over three weeks away, anticipation is building towards a campaign that poses numerous new challenges.

In no particular order, these include a first season in Division One of the County Championship for a decade, a defence of their first piece of silverware for over 20 years and a tilt at the longest form of the one-day game after the re-introduction of a 50-over competition.

And Smith has stated the club have clearly defined targets for the summer.

He said: “Our aim is to finish in the top six in Division One.

“I think it would be wrong to just try to avoid relegation which to many sides do when they come up.

“In the white ball competitions we would like to qualify for the quarter-finals in both the Twenty20 and the 50-over and they will be the targets that we’re measured against.

“Expectation will be very high and so it should be.

“Our membership levels are almost double what they were this time last year which is a reflection of both the success we had on the field and the fact the facilities here have been improved.”

Smith feels that while the exploits of 2013 shouldn’t be forgotten, the focus now has to turn towards replicating it this time around.

He added: “To win one competition was great but to get promotion and miss out on another semi-final by a fraction of a run was fantastic.

“If I was a player I would be really excited because you’re going to play against the best players in the country on the best grounds in the country and that is what playing professional sport is all about.

“We want to be competitive in all forms of the game and show that we deserve to be where we are.”