David Ripley has admitted that the thought of first division cricket will keep him motivated during the winter.
Northamptonshire will ply their trade in the top flight in 2014 for the first time since 2004 after Essex’s failure to earn maximum batting points against Hampshire saw them clinch promotion.
Having suffered relegation during their only stints in the elite level, Ripley is well aware that the task facing his side won’t be easy but he insisted that will serve as extra incentive.
He said: “The Championship is what I’m really looking forward to.
“We haven’t played at that level for a long time and it’ll be good to test oursleves against the biggest teams in the country.
“That will certainly keep me going in the winter and we all know that it will be hard work.
“We’ve been there twice before and come straight back down and Derbyshire, a similar club to us, have just seen what it is like so we’re under no illusions and staying uo will be our first aim.”
But even though the maintenance of first divisions status will be the priority, Ripley pointed to the example of Durham as one worth trying to emulate.
He added: “When I played I always wanted to win the Championship and while my head says it will be difficult, my heart says why can’t we win it?
“Durham aren’t stacked with household names and they’ve won 10 games.
“That should give everyone some hope and it will be that way for us.”