Sussex capable of lifting title - captain Michael Yardy

Sussex

Sussex captain Michael Yardy believes the county is in with a real chance of winning the County Championship.

The Hove side, who last won the title in 2007, finished fifth in the table last season.

The all-rounder, 31, told BBC Sussex: "We are going to have to use our full squad this year.

"It's a strong division and I think the Championship is going to be wide open. If we play to our strengths and work hard as a team, we won't be far off."

He added: "I think we've got a good batting line-up and some good young players coming through.

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Sussex must play to strengths - Yardy

Sussex cricket manager Mark Robinson also believes the side will benefit from younger players having been blooded in the first team last season.

"This time last year we didn't know a lot about players like Naveed Arif, Kirk Wernars and Matt Machan and how they would cope," Robinson said.

"Now we've seen them play, we know a bit we know more about them and what to expect of them. And they know what to expect because they've had a taste.

"We've got to nurture them and try and give them the belief and confidence to go and perform.

"It's up to them to seize the opportunity."

Sussex will begin the season without wicket-keeper Matt Prior and spinner Monty Panesar, both on international duty with England, while all-rounder Luke Wright will be playing in the Indian Premier League.

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Youngsters must take chance - Robinson

"It's not ideal but it's the modern game," Robinson added. "Sometimes you get lucky in having your players at the right time.

"It's also a price of success that you have other players wanted by other organisations, be it England and the IPL."

Sussex begin the season away to rivals Surrey on Thursday.