England star Stuart Broad could spearhead the Notts CCC attack in as many as three early-season County Championship games.

The green and golds begin the defence of the Division One title they clinched at Lancashire last September when they host Hampshire at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

Paceman Broad has been recovering from the side strain that saw him miss the latter stages of England's failed World Cup campaign in the Subcontinent.

He will not figure against Dominic Cork's men, nor the following two games at Yorkshire and at home to Worcestershire.

But the ECB are looking to get him some match action in the return fixture against Yorkshire, which starts on May 4.

The matches at Sussex and at home to Warwickshire are also possibilities for the Nottingham-born 24-year-old.

Last summer, Broad was devastating in his two appearances for his county, playing a major part in them winning both.

First Broad took eight wickets – five in the second innings – to help Notts to a two-wicket win over runners-up Somerset in April.

And then he returned to the county scene at Warwickshire in July and was even more devastating, taking 11 wickets, including a career-best 8-52, to set up a ten-wicket triumph.

Notts have already announced that England spinner Graeme Swann is set to play at Sussex and against Warwickshire after a rest period.

Both men are then expected to be part of the England squad to take on Sri Lanka in the first Test of the summer at Sophia Gardens on May 26.

"The home Yorkshire game has been earmarked for Broady to play and that is what we are working towards," said director of cricket Mick Newell.

"Hopefully it will come at the right time for us, especially if we can get three games out of him.

"His contribution could help us make a good start that will put us in the mix and the early-season conditions will probably help him."

Meanwhile, injured Notts duo Ben Phillips, the seamer signed from Somerset over the winter, and spinner Graeme White will take longer than first expected to recover from their respective ankle injuries.

Neither man was able to travel to Abu Dhabi for the curtain-raising game against the MCC.

Both have been undergoing rehabilitation and it was hoped they would be available for a second XI friendly against Cambridge University, starting on Wednesday.

But Newell said: "Ben is probably looking like he's about a week away at the moment and Graham is another week after that.

"There are more second XI games coming up, so we can get them involved in those when they are ready."

Matt Halfpenny is the Midlands Sports Journalist of the year and follows Nottinghamshire for the Nottingham Post.