No let up in our quest for safety – Mustard

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DURHAM’S County Championship fate is still in their own hands, and former skipper Phil Mustard says that there can be no let up between now and the end of the campaign, writes Gary Foster.

Geoff Cook’s side have spent most of the season rooted to the bottom of the table, staring relegation to Division Two in the face.

But victories over Middlesex and Surrey in their last two four-day games has lifted them to sixth place in the nine-team division.

“Obviously, everyone was buzzing to get that first win, but you can’t just sit back and pat yourselves on the back,” said Mustard.

“There is a lot of hard work to be done between now and the end of the season, and no one is kidding themselves that it isn’t going to be tough.

“We have got some momentum going now, and we can’t afford to ease up. We know what we have got to do, and that’s what we are focused on.”

Durham face a tough prospect to keep that winning run going, when they face unbeaten third-top Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in a four-day game, which starts at 11am tomorrow.

Mustard added: “We know they are a good side, and we know it won’t be easy, but no games are at this level.

“We know we have a good side on paper, and we have a good side in the dressing room.

“Now we have to go out and show that we have a good side out on the field as well.

“We haven’t had the season we would have liked and it has been tough going, but we have always said that if we hang in there the rewards would come.

“Hopefully, we are starting to see that now with the last couple of results.

“It’s up to us to make sure that we keep it going.”

Durham miss star seamer Graham Onions, who is away on England duty.

However, should he fail to make the starting XI for England’s third Test against South Africa at Lord’s, which starts on Thursday, he will be able to return to Durham.

Youngster Mark Wood is likely to be added to the squad, and will make way should Onions return.