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Paul Nixon believes Leicestershire Foxes capable of qualifying for Vitality Blast QFs

Leicestershire Foxes players
Leicestershire Foxes players
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Leicestershire head coach Paul Nixon believes his young side are more than capable of winning their last two Vitality Blast group games and qualifying for the quarter-finals.

County must beat North group leaders Nottinghamshire at the Fischer County Ground tonight [FRIDAY], and second-placed Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday, to have a chance of progressing.

Nixon acknowledges it is a tall order after disappointing performances at Durham last Sunday and then against Derbyshire on Tuesday, when the Foxes appeared to be cruising to victory before slipping to a four-run defeat with six wickets still in the bank.

“We're free now, we know what we have to do, expectations elsewhere about our chances probably aren't high, so we can come out swinging and landing punches – which is sometimes how we play our best cricket,” said Nixon.

“We know we should have beaten Derbyshire with overs to spare, perhaps we thought the chase was going to be easier than it was, and we're hurting, but we've had some honest conversations about it and now we must channel our frustration into performing to our best against Notts.”

 One of the positives to be taken from the Derbyshire match was the batting of new opener Nick Welch, a 22-year-old Zimbabwe-born right-hander who signed his first professional contract with the club last week. Welch made 32 off 26 balls, including a huge six on to the roof of 'The Meet', and looked assured against pace in particular.

“Nick is going to be an exciting player for Leicestershire moving forward,” said Nixon.

“He's massively committed, he's a phenomenal physical specimen who hits the ball very hard, he's bright and he's a quick learner. He's been watching the likes of Adam Lyth and Alex Hales, how they go about the game, he's taken a lot from that. Another few overs of Nick on Tuesday and we'd have been over the line, no question.”

Less positive is confirmation promising all-rounder Tom Taylor has moved to Northants on loan for the rest of the season, after agreeing to a permanent three-year deal at Wantage Road.

“We're bitterly disappointed about losing Tom, I won't hide that, we pulled him out of the second team at Derbyshire, nurtured him, nursed him through two serious injuries, changed his action to help him in that respect, worked hard on his batting and he was very much one of those young players we wanted to build the club around,” said Nixon.

“We offered him an unbelievable contract but he chose to turn that down and we have to move on. It does mean we have money to spend and we plan to spend it wisely in various areas of the club.”

Nixon is expected to name the same squad as that for the Derbyshire match, with the only question mark over all-rounder Ben Mike, who was due to have a fitness test on a shoulder niggle.

©Cricket World 2020