Worcestershire will be given a double boost for today's County Championship Divsion Two meeting with Leicestershire when Graeme Hick and Kabir Ali report fit for duty.
Spirits in the camp, sapped by last week's three-day innings defeat to division favourites Surrey, were sent soaring thanks to Monday afternoon's surprisingly easy Pro40 win over the Twenty20 champions.
But they return to Grace Road today knowing that four-day cricket is a different ball game. Coach Steve Rhodes is relieved to have Hick and Kabir back in a ction, especially with Worcestershire having to rely for the rest of the season without prolific Australian opening batsman Phil Jaques.
Daryl Mitchell, who scored a painstaking maiden half-century on this ground 14 months ago, and Nadeem Malik make way after Hick and Kabir recovered from a split finger and intercostal strain respectively. Lou Vincent starts his second spell of duty as Jaques' stand-in hoping to find better form.
But, as Rhodes says, there is still a lot left to play for with a hold in second place in the points table and their Pro40 hopes a lot higher - despite the shock of their caning by Surrey.
"It's good we've got Kabby and Hicky back," Rhodes said. "The contract talk surrounding Hicky has been a bit of a distraction but we can thankfully put it behind us now and concentrate on what could still be a good finish to the season."
For Rhodes, the next four days are the perfect chance to avenge last year's Champion-ship visit when, in his first match in charge in June, his team somehow clutched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Set only 141 to win on the final day, they looked home and hosed even at 95 for four with young Steven Davies well set on 49. But Davies trod on his stumps, several more mishaps followed and Rhodes' shell-shocked team were dismissed for 128 - a result that haunted them to the end of the season.
Leicestershire will give a late fitness test to Pakistan all-rounder Mansoor Amjad. The 18-year-old, who arrived as a replacement for Dinesh Mongia, is suffering from a sore spinning finger that has hampered his leg-spin since arriving in the UK.
The injury meant Mansoor was forced to miss the Foxes' enthralling Twenty20 Cup final triumph over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last Saturday although he did play a part in their semi-final success.
WORCESTERSHIRE: V S Solanki (capt.), S C Moore, L Vincent, B F Smith, G A Hick, S M Davies (wkt.), G J Batty, R J Sillence, Kabir Ali, M S Mason, Zaheer Khan
Second-placed Sussex should have Mushtaq Ahmed, their world-class leg-spinner, available for the Division One match against Durham at Hove starting today. The Pakistani is expected to play through the pain of a neck injury and is in a 13-man squad.