Stephen Fleming claims Nottinghamshire are reaping the rewards of hard work in pre-season - but warned that nothing has been achieved yet.
LV County Championship Division Two
May 23-26: Notts v Essex
Start time: 10.45am
Tickets cost £12 and £6 for concessions.
BBC Essex are providing ball-by-ball coverage of the game, which can be listened to online by clicking here.
The Kiwi is set to make his first appearance of the season at home against Essex after being on World Cup duty with New Zealand and then getting married.
He’s been keeping a close eye on the progress of his Notts team-mates so far this season and is determined to make sure the squad recover from the disappointment of relegation in 2006.
Said Fleming: “I had a busy winter with New Zealand but the relegation still hurt and I was always looking to get us back into the top flight.
“The only way to get that disappointment out of the system is to go straight back up. The guys have started with a real purpose and now it’s important we keep that going.
“We probably weren’t as crisp in the winter leading up to last season, didn’t train quite as hard and then started in the same way once the season got underway.
“This year the squad put a real onus on pre-season and we’ve seen the results so far. We’re in a good position but we certainly won’t be easing up.”
The 34-year-old has seen how the top six batsmen have been piling on the runs and is pleased to see the competition for places in the squad.
He added: “Watching from afar, the guys have been blasting the scores out and that’s great. The competitive aspect to the squad mentality is important and it’s certainly something that we tried to build in the New Zealand team.
“We are going to have guys who are under pressure and that was the formula for success in 2004 and 2005. Personally, I tend to focus on the situation in a match and try and contribute as best I can with each innings.
“If that means I get 800 runs, we get promoted and I’ve played some key innings, I’ll be far happier than to have scored 1,200 runs and not gone up.”
Will Jefferson is playing for Notts Second XI against Scotland A at Caythorpe as he builds up match fitness after his hamstring problem.
With Ryan Sidebottom selected for England duties and AJ Harris still recovering from a bruised heel, Mark Footitt is likely to make his first appearance of the season.
Gallian, Shafayat, Wagh, Fleming (capt), Hussey, Patel, Read (wkt), Ealham, Swann, Franks, Footitt, Shreck.
Chopra, Pettini, Bopara, Irani (capt), Foster (wkt), Flower, ten Doeschate, Middlebrook, Phillips, Napier, Danish Kaneria, Nel, McGarry.
Looking back at Notts v Essex by Peter Wynne-Thomas