GLOUCESTERSHIRE head coach Richard Dawson is hopeful of recruiting an overseas fast bowler to replace the injured Dan Worrall next month, Richard Latham

For the second successive season the Australian seamer had to cut short his stay with the county, this time because of a back problem after just two appearances in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Since Worrall’s departure, efforts to sign a replacement have been hampered by the World Cup and other international commitments affecting potential targets.

But, having seen Gloucestershire make an encouraging start to their bid to secure one of three promotion places in the Specsavers County Championship Second Division this season, Dawson remains optimistic about strengthening the squad.

“We have a break from cricket after next week’s Championship game with Lancashire at Cheltenham and I would like to think we can clinch a signing during that period,” he said.

“We have targeted another pace bowler and have spoken to one or two possibilities. But, with the World Cup on top of the Indian Premier League just finishing, it has not been easy to get anything finalised.

“The intention is definitely to replace Dan. I’m very pleased with our Championship form so far and there is plenty to build on.”

Josh Shaw, on loan from Yorkshire, has filled the gap left by Worrall and contributed five wickets, plus some handy first-innings runs to this week’s six-wicket win over Durham at Chester-le-Street.

Shaw looks certain to play in the Lancashire game, starting on Monday, which has been switched to Cheltenham College because of the World Cup fixtures taking place at Bristol.

“We have Josh for a month and that could well turn out to be flexible if we want him for longer,” said Dawson.

“Lancashire will provide a great test for us because they are newly down from the First Division, with a very strong squad of players.

“We are excited by the challenge the game will pose for us. It’s not all about winning in Championship cricket and what has pleased me most about our performances so far is that we are becoming difficult to beat.

“When we have had our backs to the wall we have found a way out and that is an important quality to develop.”

With good points from drawing their first two Championship games against Derbyshire and Glamorgan, the victory over Durham established Gloucestershire among the early frontrunners in Division Two.

Leaders Lancashire have won all three of their games and will arrive at Cheltenham in buoyant mood.

“It will be a different square from the one we play on at the Festival, so I am not sure what to expect,” said Dawson.

“Our second XI have played on it and found it fine, but we will go up and see for ourselves in practice on Sunday.”