Alex Hales has asserted his belief that Notts are now “real contenders” to win the Friends Provident t20 competition having established a four-point lead at the top of the north group.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game against Warwickshire Bears at Trent Bridge (play starts 11am), Hales praised the strength of the Outlaws squad, which was demonstrated by Darren Pattinson’s career best t20 figures of 4-19 against Northants on Tuesday night.

“I think Patto even exceeded his own expectations, but it demonstrates the strength of the squad well,” said Hales.

“We still have the likes of Luke Fletcher yet to play so we are looking a strong outfit.”

After Sunday’s clash with Warwickshire, Notts take a short break from Friends Provident t20 action at Trent Bridge, with just under three weeks until their next home match.

“It would be nice to finish with a few wins before we break for the county championship match in early July,” added Hales.

“On the bus trips and in the dressing room there are happy faces and that great team spirit all comes from winning games."

“We have good momentum going at the moment so we hope to keep that going in the two home games before then.

“It makes a huge difference with the home crowd behind us, hearing the massive cheers when scoring a boundary or taking a wicket.”

Personally for Hales his form has, by his own admission, “slacked recently”.  He reiterated his desire to rediscover the form that saw him score 66* against Worcestershire, and 69 against Derbyshire earlier in the month. A majestic 50 against Yorkshire on Thursday put him back on track and his run-out against Durham provided unfortunate frustration.

Hales noted the team spirit that has developed in the Outlaws camp over the past few weeks. Maintaining an unbeaten record at home, and suffering just one defeat in 9 matches, has brought the group together according to Hales.

“There is a great team spirit at the minute,” he said.

“On the bus trips and in the dressing room there are happy faces and that great team spirit all comes from winning games.

“Hussey has had a great impact too. He has lots of international Twenty20 experience and is a big personality in the dressing room. The players have a lot of respect for him.”

Outlaws fans are reminded that Sunday’s game against Warwickshire has been moved to an earlier 11 am start time to accommodate England’s World Cup game later in the day. Accompanied under-16s can enter free of charge and adult ticket prices have been reduced to £12 (£7 for senior citizens).