Nottinghamshire have surged up the table to third place after the morale- boosting win over the early pace-setters, Hampshire, and Rice now feels some missing confidence has returned to his team.
"The discipline is beginning to come through and we actually expect to win games now, which means we are a long way down the road," he said.
The only unbeaten county, Surrey, defend their record at Tunbridge Wells against Kent, who drew with Leicestershire at the weekend.
The leaders, Hampshire, are guarding against complacency despite Essex's poor form prior to today's match at Ilford. Essex have won just one of their five championship games so far but Hampshire's director of cricket, Tim Tremlett, is confident his side will not rest on their laurels.
"Essex are not to be underestimated," he said. "They had a great one- day win on Monday and that can often have an effect on the next four-day game."Reuse content