Mick Newell admits a long season is beginning to catch up with Notts – but still wants them to end on a high with victory in their last game of the County Championship season, which starts at Trent Bridge today.

The director of cricket saw his side lose by an innings and 114 runs at Warwickshire last week, despite a second innings century for Alex Hales.

With nothing to play for in that game, Newell concedes it was hard to lift his troops to take on a side in the Bears who were chasing the title.

But with opponents Sussex also unable to affect the title equation, and also safe from the drop, he wants to see an improved Notts showing to round off the campaign.

"I think we came up against a side who were up for the challenge and highly motivated last week. They had more riding on it and it showed," said Newell.

"We have been very good in securing our Division One status, but we weren't playing for anything really and that makes a big difference, especially as it is a situation we are not used to.

"I don't think our bowlers particularly took advantage of the conditions on the first day and our batsmen – apart from Alex Hales and Darren Bravo, who got stuck in – let us down.

"Fair play to Warwickshire because they have beaten us well twice this season, home and away."

Defeat at Edgbaston brought a first defeat in seven matches for Notts, who have recovered well from four mid-season defeats in a row.

"We didn't want to lose because we had gone six games undefeated before that. They put up a big first innings score and then put the pressure on us and some of our batters gave their wickets away."

Hales' knock of 106 not out in Birmingham was his third century of the season and leaves him tantalisingly short of 1,000 County Championship runs for 2012 on 973, with one game left.

Newell says he would be 'very surprised' if the talented opener does not have a significant part to play in England Lions' plans this winter.

He said: "Alex is coming along very nicely. It is great to see a quality, young English player coming through and he looked very comfortable in both innings at Warwickshire (scoring 72 in the first innings).

"There will be a Lions training camp before Christmas and then games after and I would expect him to be involved.

"He's missed three games and is still close to 1,000 runs, which is a terrific effort, but we haven't had enough players get up towards that mark.

"That is what we will need to improve on next season if we are to get back up to challenge in the top three."

Charlie Shreck is set to be handed a farewell last appearance against Sussex before his move to Kent for next season.

He said: "Charlie has been excellent for us and, while he perhaps has not got that close to England selection.

"He's been a fantastic county pro.

"All credit to him for giving up his benefit year to go and play competitive cricket for Kent and prolong his career."

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