BEN COAD is a doubt for Yorkshire’s opening Specsavers County Championship clash with Essex a week on Friday due to a hip flexor injury sustained on pre-season tour in South Africa.

Seamer Coad’s involvement in their two-day intra-squad match in Potchefstroom approximately a fortnight ago was limited to just four overs, and he will not start bowling again until the end of this week.

Director of cricket Martyn Moxon described the chances of Coad’s involvement against the defending champions at Emerald Headingley as “tight” and insisted there won’t be any chances taken on last season’s 50-wicket star.

“There’s no point rushing him because we have all season to think about,” he said.

“Given the resources we’ve got, if there was ever a time to get injured it’s now.

“Frustrating for him and us because he did so well last year and is a wicket-taking bowler. But at least we have cover.”

Speaking at Yorkshire’s pre-season media day yesterday, 24-year-old Coad said: “It’s a bit of a frustrating one.

“It’s nothing too serious, but it has put a delay on things.

“It happened during the last friendly out in Potch. It wasn't a snap or a big tear, it’s just built up.

“It’s just about resting it for now, and we’ll have to wait and see. It should hopefully be ready for the first or second game.”

Coad is one of a plethora of fast bowlers available to Moxon and coach Andrew Gale, including England limited overs pair Liam Plunkett and David Willey.

With the home international schedule working in their favour, it means they could be available for 12 of 14 Championship matches.

And both may line-up in this weekend’s three-day University friendly against Leeds/Bradford at Headingley, starting on Saturday - weather dependent.

Back to Coad, and he can’t wait for his first opportunity to build on last season’s exceptional breakthrough campaign which saw him finish as the White Rose’s leading Championship wicket-taker.

“That will be the plan, to do the same as last year,” he said, insisting the old ‘second season syndrome’ cliche is not something that concerns him.

“There’s a few people saying about the pressure, but I’m just going in with more confidence rather than feeling anything else.

“I feel like I’ve improved this winter.

“I’ve worked hard with (assistant/bowling coach) Rich Pyrah just trying to tweak some things in my action to get quicker. I feel a bit stronger and have put a bit of weight on.

“I know I’m not the quickest of guys, so it’s just about getting that extra mile per hour here and there to keep building.”

Coad would also like to add to four one-day and two Twenty20 appearances in 2017 as well as pushing on for England Lions recognition or even higher: “I think that’s everyone’s aim,” he said.

But, most of all, he wants to be part of a successful Yorkshire campaign and end it having lifted some silverware.

“Definitely (it’s possible),” he said when asked whether a flirt with Championship relegation can be turned into a title push.

“You look at the league and it’s so small - a quarter of the teams go down.

“But, with our squad, I can see us really pushing for the title and in white ball cricket as well.

“We have a real good chance.”

Meanwhile, India overseas batsman Cheteshwar Pujara lands in England on Wednesday and should be part of a strong side to face Leeds/Bradford.