Warwickshire received a boost ahead of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy final against Hampshire when England confirmed that Ashley Giles and Ian Bell can play in Saturday's match.
England coach Duncan Fletcher had insisted all players involved in the Ashes series were rested for the semi-finals but has accepted the importance of the game - the last domestic knockout final - and released the players.
The availability of Hampshire's Kevin Pietersen has also been confirmed; the only fly in the ointment for the Bears.
Sentiment might suggest that Warwickshire should keep faith with the team that played so well in the semi-final, but sentiment will play little part in team selection. Giles and Bell strengthen the side and must play. Hard choices will have to be made.
Warwickshire's continuing injury problems might make those choices somewhat easier, however. Michael Powell (shins) and Neil Carter (side strain) are the most serious concerns before the start of today's Championship game - also against Hampshire - in Southampton with the latter an essential part of Saturday's plans.
"I'd like to say we'll be playing without one eye on Saturday, but that's not quite true," Nick Knight said. "Neil may well be given a rest."
Jim Troughton has recovered from his back problems, however, and Naqaash Tahir, despite having bowled only a handful overs since returning from injury, has also travelled with the squad and could be pressed into service.
The equation for this game is pretty simple: Warwickshire need to win to sustain their County Championship challenge.
The formbook provides some encouragement. Warwickshire brushed aside Hampshire in two days at Stratford-upon-Avon and have won three of their last four games in the competition.
Indeed, Warwickshire would appear to be a 'result' team. After winning the title last year with 11 draws, they have drawn just two of 13 games this season. An infuriating inconsistency has seen them appear anything from world-beaters to relegation fodder - sometimes within the same session.
The Rose Bowl is also very much a result pitch. Only one of six Championship games played at the ground this season has been drawn, with the hosts winning four.
Hampshire have also been greatly strengthened by the return of Chris Tremlett. Tremlett is in pole position for a place in the England team if Simon Jones is not fit for the final Test at The Brit Oval and will have plenty to prove in this game.
At his best, on the seamer-friendly conditions usually found at the ground, he is as awkward a prospect as anyone in the county game.
Meanwhile Warwickshire's search for a new wicketkeeper goes on. Keith Piper appears to be able to summon little enthusiasm for a return to second XI cricket, while doubts over the keeping of current second XI players Stuart Eustace and Freddy Klokker continue.
Sussex have given their reserve keeper Tim Ambrose permission to talk to other counties and Warwickshire are sure to take note. Matt Prior has blocked his path into the Sussex team but the county have accepted that Ambrose is too good for second team cricket.
Ambrose is not a bad keeper and a very decent batsman. He has a first-class average of 32 with two centuries, and is quite capable of playing as a specialist batsman. Australian born, but England qualified, he is just 22 years old (younger than Ian Westwood or Alex Loudon) and could prove a worthy deputy, successor or rival to 29-year-old Tony Frost.