WORCESTERSHIRE CCC head coach Alex Gidman is confident his players can deal with relentless season start as County head to Edgbaston to take on rivals Warwickshire in their LV=Insurance County Championship Group One fixture today.

Josh Tongue has been included in the matchday squad for the first time this season in the only addition to the side.

The 23-year-old paceman underwent shoulder surgery during the winter and was not deemed fit enough for the start of the season but has come through three second team games, and is named as part of a 14 strong squad.

Worcestershire head coach, Alex Gidman, said: “We wanted Josh to prove his fitness to himself as much as anything. Josh needed to have the confidence in his body to get through four days competitively.

“He was a little bit behind in pre-season due to the injury and operation he had during the winter, but he has done everything we had hoped for, and he has come through those second team games well. He has performed well, which is why he is back in contention.”

Worcestershire are lying in third spot in an ultra-competitive Group One – just two points behind leaders Warwickshire.

Gidman said: “So far, the competition has been great. You look at each group, and most teams are only a win or a draw away from being in that top two.

“From my point of view, I think we’ve got the most points we could have out of each game, whether that’s due to our performances or the conditions.

“We will see what the next few games bring. We have a tough little period with going away for three games but I know the guys are in a good place.”

Worcestershire are one of the few counties who have to play all nine matches in the initial block of Championship fixtures without a week’s break.

Gidman said: “It will be tough, but one of the biggest strengths of this group is just getting on with things and dealing with what is in front of them.

“It is a very tough fixture against a Warwickshire team likely to be at full strength, including quite a few internationals.”