Durham bowlers are key to Championship effort - Mustard

Phil Mustard
Mustard has backed Onions and Harmison to impress in 2011

Durham captain Phil Mustard believes the return of Graham Onions and Stephen Harmison to the ranks can provide the firepower for a Championship tilt.

Onions has overcome the back injury that forced him out of the whole 2010 campaign, while Harmison also missed spells through various injuries.

"Graham is bowling back to his old self again, and Steve has come out all guns blazing," Mustard told BBC Sport.

"The bowlers are fighting fit and raring to go."

Mustard added: "Our chances of the Championship are high, it's going to be a tight season but hopefully we can come out on top."

Geoff Cook's side are currently on a tour to Dubai where training has coincided with Twenty20 and one-day games against fellow county sides Nottinghamshire and Sussex.

However captain Mustard has been unable to feature in matches because of an injury picked up during the winter break.

"It's been pretty tough, I got a bit of a stress fracture a couple of weeks after Christmas, so I haven't able to play much cricket," Mustard continued.

"I've near enough had six weeks off with it now, and I took my protective boot off this week.

"Hopefully when we get back to Durham I will do a lot of batting and fitness work and hopefully I'll be back for the start of the year."

Durham were county champions in 2008 and 2009, but finished fifth last season, 41 points adrift of winners Nottinghamshire.