Bowler Matt Higginbottom is determined to push himself into contention for a first-team place at Derbyshire this season.
The 23-year-old, who is on a summer incremental contract for 2014 at The 3a County Ground, made four first-class appearances for Derbyshire during their ill-fated LV= County Championship Division One campaign last year.
And Higginbottom hopes the experience gained from his performances against New Zealand, Sussex, Middlesex and Surrey during which he claimed a total of ten wickets, will put him in good stead for the new season.
“It was good to get an opportunity,” he said, reflecting on the past 12 months. “I enjoyed it. It was exciting, different, challenging, and I was in two of the winning teams, which is always a great feeling.”
Although expected to miss the opening weeks of the season while recovering from a long-term groin injury, the left-handed batsman is clear what is expected of him.
“I want to push for a first-team place and hopefully challenge a few of the senior boys, but that’s going to come from my performances at the start of the season,” he said.
“I just basically need to keep knocking on the door and be ready when the chance presents itself.”
He added: “I think Derbyshire has got a great chance this year. They’ve got to take it game by game, day by day, session by session, just do what we’ve been doing all winter.
“We’ve put in the hard yards in training, so it’s just about putting that into practice on the pitch.”
Former New Mills School pupil Higginbottom began playing cricket as a junior for his local club Hayfield in the Derbyshire & Cheshire League, before rising through the Derbyshire ranks.
Higginbottom has represented Leeds/Bradford MCC University, and also plays for Chesterfield.