Lancashire win promotion: Mike Watkinson wants local core

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Promotion a team effort - Watkinson

Director of cricket Mike Watkinson has said keeping a core of local talent in the Lancashire side is key to the county's progress in future seasons.

and 12 points from their final two games will seal the Division Two title.

Several home-grown players have contributed to their success in 2013.

"It's very important for us," said Watkinson. "It's part of our mission statement and it's what we're about."

Opener Luis Reece, 23, has made the most significant breakthrough into the Lancashire side this season, scoring half-centuries in seven consecutive innings before the start of Tuesday's game against Gloucestershire at Bristol.

Other youngsters such as batsman Andrea Agathangelou and off-spinner Arron Lilley have also made an impact, while Simon Kerrigan was rewarded for his emergence as the county's front-line spin bowler with a

and have led their pace attack and, although born outside the Lancashire area, both have been with the Old Trafford outfit for more than a decade.

Also pivotal to their promotion charge have been experienced former Test batsmen Simon Katich and Ashwell Prince, from Australia and South Africa respectively, who are the county's two highest run scorers in four-day cricket this season.

Watkinson, who played four Test matches for England, told BBC North West Tonight: "I'm told 25% of recreational cricket in the country is played in Lancashire and Yorkshire, so we should have Lancastrians in our side.

"There are plenty of young players out there and there's got to be a way for them to push into our side.

"We will, from time to time, recruit from outside. That's what the modern game's about, but we want a core within the team that are Lancastrians through and through, they know the roots of cricket in the county, and want to go on and play great cricket for Lancashire and England."