Sadler wants to hear the sound of the crowd in crucial Lightning showdown

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​Head coach John Sadler has called on the Steelbacks supporters to get behind their team when big guns Lancashire Lightning arrive at the County Ground on Friday night (start 6.30pm).

A sell-out crowd is expected at Wantage Road for the final Friday night home fixture of the campaign, and Sadler wants them to make some noise and back their team.

It has been a disappointing home summer so far in the T20, with Northants losing their opening three matches before claiming a first, and very welcome, win against Leicestershire Foxes a fortnight ago.

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They now face a run of their final three home games in the space of just five days, with Notts in town on Sunday afternoon and then Derbyshire next Wednesday, and Sadler is calling for 100 per cent backing to boost the players.

A sell-out crowd is expected at the County Ground on Friday night (Picture: Peter Short)A sell-out crowd is expected at the County Ground on Friday night (Picture: Peter Short)
A sell-out crowd is expected at the County Ground on Friday night (Picture: Peter Short)

"The crowd have been great for us in the past couple of years, in my time here, and certainly before that I think the home backing has been crucial," said Sadler.

"They are that 12th man for us.

"I know we have not fired as we can do in this tournament so far, but make no mistake, that support from the crowd for our home games makes a massive, massive difference, it really does.

"Hopefully they will keep the faith, and get behind us.

Steelbacks head coach John Sadler (Picture: Peter Short)Steelbacks head coach John Sadler (Picture: Peter Short)
Steelbacks head coach John Sadler (Picture: Peter Short)

"It does make a difference to the players, and we know that when we go to away games we feel the pressure of the crowd, because they are supporting their home team. So it is the same here.

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"The crowd have been awesome for us here, so hopefully that will continue."

The supporters lucky enough to have a ticket for the date with Lighnting are guaranteed to see plenty of world-class talent on show.

The Steelbacks have their own T20 stars with the likes of David Willey and Chris Lynn, but the visitors possess a team full of international class and batting power.

Their squad includes three players who started England's T20 World Cup Final win over Pakistan in November, namely Jos Buttler, Phil Salt and Liam Livingstone.

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They can also field two from New Zealand all-rounders Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme and South African Dane Vilas, while they also have England left-arm quick bowler Luke Wood and leg-spinner Matt Parkinson in their ranks.

Despite that squad strength, Lightning had lost four matches in a row prior to beating Worcestershire Rapids last time out, and Sadler says that proves they are far from invincible.

"This is why we play the game, we want to play against the best," said the head coach.

"A lot of our lads want to play in higher competition, they want to play in The Hundred, they want to play international cricket, and these are the type of players you are going to come up against day in, day out, so it will be a good test.

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"Lancashire are a good side, but it doesn't mean they can't be beaten, and they have stumbled in this competition as everybody has.

"On their day they will take some beating, but so will we if we play to our potential.

"We beat them in Northampton last year, and I think we lost by one run off the last ball at their place.

"T20 is such a global phenomenon of a game because anybody can beat anybody, so we will see.

"We'll turn up and give it our best shot."