Worcestershire have homed in on their first new signing for next season on the day that the exit door was shown to three of this year's squad.

The new Pro40 League champions have prepared the ground for a better showing in next year's County Championship by making a move for Somerset's former England Under-19 fast bowler, Gareth Andrew.

That could prove the first part of a transformation of their attack already signalled by the departure of Roger Sillence, Stuart Wedge and Dewald Nel.

Sillence's release came four days after he was part of the first Worcestershire team to win silverware in 13 years against Gloucestershire at Bristol last Thursday.

Based on his performances this year (he has managed only 15 wickets and 202 runs in first-class cricket), the decision is, at face value, no surprise. But an early-season side strain did not help and Sillence is disappointed that his contribution in 2006 was not taken into account.

"I had my assessment earlier this summer and was graded 'B', so this has come out of the blue a bit," he said. "I'd been planning to go away this winter and play grade cricket in Sydney and come back and have a much better 2008 but I'm not sure what I'll do now.

"I'm only 30 and still feel young enough to make it in county cricket but I just hope counties will look at what I did last year, rather than this summer, which I'm the first to admit did not go well."

Nel, Sillence's Barnt Green colleague, was signed only on an extended summer's contract and Wedge has not figured since taking five wickets on his only Championship appearance (in the final match of the 2005 season against Essex).

Meanwhile, Worcestershire have wasted no time planning ahead. The promising 23-year-old Andrew is Worcestershire's second choice after they failed with an approach for Lancashire's Oliver Newby but the inside word from Taunton is that Worcestershire have more of a chance of signing Andrew than they had with Newby.

Andrew was part of the same team as Alastair Cook, Liam Plunkett, Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright, who have since earned full international honours, when picked for the England Under-19 four-day team against South Africa in 2003.

Since then, he has not progressed as Somerset had hoped, his position not being helped by a shoulder injury suffered two years ago. He has not been able to break past Andrew Caddick, Charl Willoughby, Stefan Jones and Peter Trego into this summer's Division Two title-winning side.

With the exception of 31-year-old spinner Ray Price, who looks set to land a new deal, Graeme Hick and stand-in skipper Gareth Batty, Worcestershire have eight players aged 26 or under heading to Hove tomorrow for their final County Championship match with Sussex.

Abdul Razzaq has been released from his short-term contract to return to Pakistan. That has allowed 20-year-old seamer Richard Jones, who played in the first match of the season, to be called up for his second Championship start. In the continued absence of Ben Smith, 22-year-old reserve wicketkeeper Josh Knappett will come in as a batsman for his debut.

Two more summer scholarship players, Will Gifford and Ed Foster - both of whom spent the first half of the summer completing their studies at Loughborough UCCE - have been told they will not be offered full playing contracts.

Director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: "This is, in many ways, the hardest time of the year when we have to make some tough decisions. I am very happy with our batting line-up but we do need to find a couple of high-quality seam bowlers.

"In Roger's case, after a good first season with us, he hasn't kicked on in the way that we hoped."