Middlesex head to Uxbridge Cricket Club's Park Road ground this week to take on a Hampshire side sitting in third place in the Division One table, just thirteen points ahead of them with three games remaining.
In what has been a frustrating season for the defending champions, this week’s clash with Hampshire could prove hugely pivotal in determining how their Championship campaign pans out, as whilst only thirteen points off Hampshire in third spot, the gap to Somerset residing one off the bottom of the table is exactly the same.
Middlesex can take plenty of positives from their two drawn away encounters with both Surrey and Yorkshire in recent weeks, and will head to Uxbridge with their sights set on securing a victory that will see them climb the table and put some distance between them and the relegation places below them.
The corresponding fixture last season saw Middlesex romp to victory by the huge margin of an innings and 116 runs at Merchant Taylors' School, where centuries from Adam Voges, Dawid Malan and John Simpson put Middlesex in a commanding position in the game, before the bowlers finished off the job. A similar result at Uxbridge would be just what the doctor ordered in the first of three crucial Championship clashes.
Toby Roland-Jones is unfortunately unavailable for the Uxbridge clash as he is nursing a sore side, which he picked up at Lord’s in the third and final Test against the West Indies. He will be rested this week to ensure that he is fit for Middlesex’s final two Championship matches of the season.
Dawid Malan is also unavailable, as he remains with the England squad for the forthcoming International T20 clash at the end of the week in Durham.
Tim Murtagh and Paul Stirling are also other notable absentees, as they have joined up with the Ireland squad for their One Day International against the West Indies in Stormont on Wednesday.
Max Holden could be set to make his first-class debut for Middlesex in the absence of Stirling, having impressed with a heavy weight of runs whilst on loan at Northamptonshire this season, whilst Tom Barber is also named for the first time in a Middlesex Championship squad, having impressed with his genuine pace in Middlesex’s T20 Blast campaign earlier this year.
Middlesex name the following thirteen-man squad for their clash against Hampshire…
James Franklin (captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)