Giles looking forward to Hampshire clash
Lancashire face Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl tomorrow bidding for their first away win this season in the Specsavers County Championship.
The Red Rose county have won three of 10 matches in 2016, all at home, to put themselves in the mix for the Division One title with six games to go.
One of those home wins came against Hampshire at Emirates Old Trafford in early May when they triumphed by an innings and 94 runs.
Lancashire take on a Hampshire side bottom of Division One with one win in 10.
Lancashire are fourth in Division One 20 points behind leaders Middlesex in what is becoming an increasingly congested title race.
Only 25 points separate the top six teams, with reigning champions Yorkshire in sixth and Durham in second the only two teams to have a game in hand.
“Whether it’s must win yet, I don’t know,” said cricket director and head coach Ashley Giles.
“But it’s certainly a game you’d identify to win because you are playing a side who’s struggled for some form in the competition.
“They’re all important games. We don’t know quite what to expect at Hampshire when we get down there, really.
“They could gamble on a pitch either way, whether it’s dry or green because they need to win.
“Having not won for a while ourselves, it would be nice for us to get a win under our belts as well. It would put us right back in the mix.”
Despite Hampshire’s weak position as they battle to avoid relegation, Giles knows they have the quality to cause his side problems.
“All these sides are tough to beat if they hit their straps,” he said.
“You’ve seen in the one-day competitions that some sides have turned their form completely on its head.
“Yorkshire, over the last two or three weeks, have played a completely different form of cricket to what they did at the start of the season.
“Momentum is important. If we can try to get that from Thursday onwards into the rest of the season, that would be great.
“We haven’t won away yet. We’ve talked about trying to create a fortress at home, and we’ve done that pretty well. But, if you are going to win Championships, you’ve got to win on the road as well.”
Lancashire’s last outing came against Durham at Southport midway through last month. It was a match they lost narrowly on the final day as the visitors, now second in the table, chased down a 247-target.
Giles added: “We lost that game, but it was a really good game of Championship cricket. If we play like that, we’ve got a really good chance.”
Hampshire’s most recent outing, during the same round of fixtures, ended in a defeat to fellow relegation rivals Surrey at the Ageas Bowl.
Their only win came at home against Notts in late May.