Coach says Lancashire are too good to go down

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The Independent Online

Lancashire, who are in serious danger of relegation from the County Championship First Division if they fail to beat Kent in their final match of the season, are too good to go down, according to their coach, Bobby Simpson.

The former coach of the Australian national team, who is to leave the county at the end of the season, admits his side have put in some disappointing performances this year but feels they have the quality to avoid playing Second Division cricket next season. "This is a vital match," he said.

"It's absolutely imperative we stay in the First Division. This team is too good to go down. We've not played well this season, but we've not been fated with the weather after we went on an early roll. If it [the weather] forces a draw those four points might not be enough."

Simpson is planning to use a squad of 14 for today's visit of third-placed Kent in order to maximise his options. He said: "We've got to make sure we have the numbers there so that we have the players capable of coping with different weather and pitch conditions."

Mike Atherton may have already played his last first-class game as he is struggling to be fit with his ongoing back problem, while Peter Martin's leg injury may rule him out again. Both players will undergo late fitness tests.