Andrew lined up to return for Worcestershire against Sussex

Gareth Andrew

Worcestershire are keen to bring back fit-again all-rounder Gareth Andrew for this week's home Championship game with Sussex following the shoulder injury to main strike bowler Alan Richardson.

After undergoing knee surgery over the winter, it was feared that Andrew, 28, would be missing for around six months.

But he is ahead of schedule, despite being frustrated by rain in last week's second XI game at Ombersley.

"Fingers crossed he will be in the squad," said coach Steve Rhodes.

"If that's the case then it will be fantastic as he had a terrific season last year.

"If he is fully fit with no problems from his injury then he'll put his hat in the ring," Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

Worcestershire need to bring back Andrew sooner than expected after Richardson suffered a shoulder muscle injury last Friday in the drawn Championship game against Surrey.

While that game was going on, Andrew was captaining the second XI against Hampshire at Ombersley.

But, although he top-scored with 69 out of his side's total of 236, he did not get a chance to bowl before the game was washed out by rain.

"It's been hard for a lot of counties if your second team is not playing," added Rhodes.

"They play at out grounds a lot of the time and the covering is not as good as at main grounds, so they don't get to play.

"Ombersley have been brilliant at staging our games, but the water runs off the slope there and there is nothing they can do to get games on."

Andrew, who took 52 wickets and scored almost 700 runs in first-class cricket in 2011, played through the injury over the county's final few games last summer as Worcestershire successfully fought to beat the drop to Division Two.

He ended the season as runner-up in the Professional Cricketers' Association's 'most valuable player' list behind Marcus Trescothick.

He was expected to go in for minor surgery but the injury proved far worse than first feared - and he has been much missed over the opening weeks of this season, in which Worcestershire have failed to win any of their five opening Championship matches.

Sussex, who won by 251 runs on their last visit to New Road in 2011, have won one of their first four games.

They sit 13 points clear of both Lancashire and eighth-placed Worcestershire as the Championship table starts to take some sort of shape following a rain-ravaged start to the summer.

The visitors make one change, wicket-keeper Ben Brown replacing Matt Prior, who returns to Test duty with England.

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