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Patel urges Warwickshire to retain focus during promotion run-in

WARWICKSHIRE captain Jeetan Patel wants his team to "keep getting better" as they strive to bring their Specsavers County Championship promotion quest to a successful conclusion.

The Bears face Durham at Edgbaston on Tuesday (10.30am) strongly-placed at the top of Division Two after successive emphatic victories.

They followed a two-day innings-and-47-runs win over Gloucestershire at Edgbaston by completing an innings-and-35-runs conquest of Glamorgan inside three days at Colwyn Bay.

With four games left, those two excellent performances have left the Bears 24-points clear of third-placed Sussex who slipped up with defeat to Middlesex in the last round.

Sussex will be the last championship visitors to Edgbaston this season but before them come Durham tomorrow before Warwickshire visit Leicestershire next week.

Patel was delighted with his team's outplaying of Glamorgan last week - but insists they need to keep the pressure on their pursuers.

"I was very proud of the guys at Colwyn Bay," he said. "Taking 20 wickets again was testament to our bowling attack and how hard they strive to win games for the Bears.

"The wicket got a bit slower but we got our plans right, hunted as a pack and performed well not just as a bowling unit but as a fielding unit.

"We earned ourselves an extra day off which was nice at this stage of the season. Now it's back in on Monday and working hard because we need to keep getting better.

"We need to get on the front foot again against Durham who have been up and down this season and that makes them dangerous."

Seven wins from ten games send Warwickshire into the home straight very much with their promotion fate in their own hands.

They have strung those wins together despite dealing with a fair few injuries to the bowling department along the way but the bowlers have invariably found a way to do the job.

Against Gloucestershire, Chris Wright and Ryan Sidebottom shared 12 wickets, then at Colwyn Bay Patel led the way with ten for 106 in the match while Keith Barker and Olly Stone also inflicted heavy blows on Glamorgan's batting.

Meanwhile in the two matches Will Rhodes and Ian Bell, supported by Dom Sibley, San Hain and Barker, supplied the backbone with the bat, Tim Ambrose kept wicket with his customary excellence, taking eight catches, and the fielding was generally impressive.

"Let's just try to keep doing the things that have brought us two very good results in the last two games," said Patel.

"If we remain professional and, as individuals, keep enjoying our own success and that of other people within the group, we could go close.

"At the start of the season we wanted to win this division and that hasn't changed. We have got a lead, which is good, but the only thing that matters is that we have got a lead at the end of the last game."

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