FIRST-TEAM coach Alex Gidman believes the confidence of his Worcestershire players should not be dented ahead of Monday's Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash with Middlesex at Blackfinch New Road (11am).

Second-placed Worcestershire were involved in a see-saw battle at Lancashire last week and showed great fighting qualities.

But they went down by six wickets after Wayne Parnell was unable to bowl in Lancashire’s second innings.

Parnell is ruled out with the hamstring injury suffered in that game after producing a superb performance in hitting 63 – his highest Championship score for Worcestershire – and taking five wickets.

But the good news for Gidman is that paceman Josh Tongue is back available after missing the six wicket defeat with an injury niggle.

Tongue returned 5-37 in the second innings of the win over Durham and picked up his 100th first class wicket during that five wicket success in Worcestershire’s last home game.

He and fellow paceman Adam Finch are added to the other 10 players who featured in the game with Lancashire.

Tongue bowled 10 overs for Barnards Green yesterday in a Birmingham Premier League game against Brockhampton.

Gidman said: “Wayne is not available for this week.

“With Josh, it was a bit of a scare and we went through the right process and as it has turned out he has ended up having a week’s rotation and he is fit and firing to come in tomorrow.”

Gidman said there were many plus points from the County’s performance against Lancashire.

He said: “There was a lot of the performance which was very positive. We fought extremely hard and a few things didn’t go our way.

“We played some good cricket and I said to the team it was a performance that we certainly shouldn’t lose any confidence over.

“We did a lot of good stuff and we played a lot of good cricket in that game.

“They are all looking forward to continuing the cricket we’ve been trying to play over the last few weeks.”