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Win or draw against Sussex would seal promotion for Warwickshire

Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton.
Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton.

WARWICKSHIRE face Sussex at Hove on Tuesday knowing that a win or draw against their promotion rivals would secure their promotion back to the Specsavers County Championship Division One at the first attempt.

The Bears sit 33 points ahead of third-placed Sussex having won eight of 12 championship games, including three of the last four inside three days.

They are in a strong position but two of the toughest tests remain - Sussex away then second-placed Kent, who have won nine of their 12 games, at Edgbaston.

The Bears would love to seal promotion this week to lift the pressure for that final match - and as his team pressures for the mouth-watering denouement to the season, Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton paid tribute to his players and, in particular, captain Jeetan Patel.

"Jeets has led from the front as always," Troughton said. "As a coaching staff we have tried to take all the pressure we can off him off the field, allowing him to concentrating on leading and performing on the field, and he has got 50 wickets yet again and bowled as well as ever. He takes a lot of credit for driving the team forward.

"Looking at some of the cricket the guys have played this year, and the way Jeets has led them, it would be really nice to see them lift a trophy as well as win promotion. But we know we have still got a lot of hard work to do, firstly against a very good Sussex side.

"Nobody is getting ahead of themselves. We looked at the last six matches as a Test series which we needed to win and we are on top in that. Then we broke that down into the last three as a three-match series. If we win that mini-series we will be in a good place - and we are 1-0 up."

Warwickshire will face Sussex without England all-rounder Chris Woakes who has been made unavailable for the huge game by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Ryan Sidebottom and Olly Hannon-Dalby head the contenders to come in and Troughton is relaxed about his selection options with his team having outplayed the opposition in all departments in three of the last four games.

"The bowlers have taken 20 wickets in a lot of games this season and deserve a lot of credit," the coach said, "but I have been especially pleased with the batting in the last couple of games. Against Durham and Leicestershire, in cloudy conditions, batting was not easy but we scored enough runs to force winning positions.

"To get maximum points at Leicester, even down to scoring at six an over for the last 50 runs, was a really good effort. For Dom Sibley and Will Rhodes to get us past the opposition with all ten wickets intact was fantastic.

"Dom batted really well and has got a big opportunity now. He has had an average season by his standards but he's got two centuries and now he has potentially four innings to try to get a couple more which would make it a very good season."

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