By virtue of their run rate and the game in hand, Derbyshire are in a decent position going into this game tomorrow. Mind you, the three extra points we would have had but for the pitch penalty from last year and the Duckworth/Lewis against Worcestershire would have left us sitting pretty.
Tomorrow's visitors, Essex, are a fine one-day side and have as destructive a batting line up as any in the country. We will need to be at our best to keep them under control, that's for sure. Their likely squad is:
Mark Pettini, Tom Westley, Greg Smith, Kishen Velani, Jesse Ryder, Ryan
ten Doeschate, James Foster, Tim Phillips, Graham Napier, Matt
Salisbury, David Masters, Jaik Mickleburgh, Reece Topley
Tom Taylor is, as expected, out of the Derbyshire squad so Ben Cotton comes in. That may be the only change to a side that has played some very good cricket so far, though a tweak to the batting line up might see Ben Slater open and Billy Godleman drop to three in place of the out of form Scott Elstone.
The Derbyshire squad:
Wes Durston (3) Billy Godleman (1)
Scott Elstone (10) Wayne Madsen (77)Marcus North (8) Alex Hughes (18)Gareth Cross (7) David Wainwright (21)Tony Palladino (28) Mark Footitt (4)Ben Cotton (36) Tom Knight (27)Ben Slater (26)
A win would do us nicely at the start of three games in four days. At the end of the sequence we will have a pretty good idea if there is opportunity to progress, but this season of change is as much about opportunity for some players as it is results. No one would ever turn down a win, though...
Too close to call this one, but we need a big team effort and the toss may be crucial.
Fingers crossed for the right result - more from me tomorrow.