Northants set sights on overseas signing to boost promotion bid

Northants head coach David Ripley
Northants head coach David Ripley

David Ripley has confirmed that Northants are looking to bring in an overseas player to boost their promotion bid.

The County currently sit fourth in Specsavers County Championship Division Two, 13 points behind Gloucestershire, who occupy the third and final promotion place.

Northants have gone unbeaten in their past five matches but their batting has recently been weakened by the departure of South Africa star Temba Bavuma and the season-ending injury sustained by key man Ricardo Vasconcelos.

Four Championship matches now remain, with the County's next clash coming at home to Worcestershire, starting on August 18.

Northants are likely to have to go with what they've got for that game, but Ripley is hopeful of drafting in an overseas star for the final three encounters of the four-day campaign.

"We're having some dialogue about having an overseas player for those last three games," Ripley said.

"The club are working at it and if we can get that financial support, we're starting to look into who that player might be.

"And come those last three games of the summer, it would be handy to know we've got an overseas element in our side and it might make a difference in those last three games."

But Ripley says reinforcements won't necessarily come in the batting department.

"We were hoping for a bowler - that was my preference because those games are going to be about results, taking 20 wickets," he said.

"We've had bowlers on loan this year, which would suggest we have been a bit light in our attack with Ben Cotton not able to take up his contract due to fitness concerns.

"We have been a bowler down all season.

"We did have Temba Bavuma playing really well at Chesterfield to help win us the game against Derbyshire, and it was a match-winning innings from him.

"And obviously Ricardo Vasconcelos is out for the summer so it's not as straightforward now as it was.

"I did think we wanted an out-and-out seam bowler.

"With 10.30am starts and us playing at Bristol and Leicestershire's Grace Road, they're not necessarily grounds that take a lot of spin so my gut feeling was seam.

"But I'm a little bit less sure about it now and we're looking at options, one of which is Temba possibly coming back.

"There are one or two other guys, who bowl seam, that we're looking at, but we're just trying to secure the finance that will allow us to go out and secure that signature for those last three games."