Steelbacks aiming to stay in top four touch as bottom two clash at County Ground

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It's the battle of the bottom two at the County Ground on Friday night as struggling Steelbacks take on winless Leicestershire Foxes in the Vitality Blast (start 6.30pm).

It is a crucial match for both sides as they try to stay in touch with the race for the top four in the North Group.

The Steelbacks have dropped to eighth after Derbyshire Falcons claimed their first win of the campaign on Thursday night, pipping rock-bottom Foxes by two runs at Grace Road.

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That was Leicestershire's fourth straight loss, having previously been beaten by Lancashire Lightning, Birmingham Bears and Worcestershire Rapids.

Leicestershire Foxes' England leg-spinner Rehan AhmedLeicestershire Foxes' England leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed
Leicestershire Foxes' England leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed

Northants will be aiming to claim a second win of the tournament, and a first home victory after three defeats so far at Wantage Road, the latest coming on Wednesday night when they were beaten by 21 runs by the table-topping Bears.

Despite the fact they have won just once, Northants are just two points off the top four, and four points off second place, so there is all to play for.

The Steelbacks have named an unchanged 15-man squad for the date with the Foxes, although it remains to be seen if they go with the same starting XI from the past two matches.

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Leg-spinner Alex Russell is a player who may be considered for a starting role, following the positive impact that left-arm wrist spinner Freddie Heldreich has made in the past two games.

The Foxes look likely to stick with the side that went so close to breaking their duck against Derbyshire.

That match saw the return to the side of Afghanistan pace bowler Naveen-ul-Haq fresh from his stint in the Indian Premier League with Super Giants. He repalces Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah, who had been brought in as cover.

The Foxes also boast teenage England leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed in their ranks.

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Steelbacks squad: Willey, Cobb, Gay, Heldreich, Keogh, Lynn, McManus, Russell, Sanderson, Sales, Tye, Taylor, Vasconcelos, G White, Zaib

Foxes squad: Ackermann, Ahmed, Budinger, David, Finan, Hill, Lilley, Mulder, Naveen, Parkinson, Patel, Scriven, Swindells, Welch