Worcestershire launched their pre-season programme for the 2015 campaign in earnest today by flying out to Abu Dhabi.

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes, captain Daryl Mitchell and the squad will undergo warm weather training in addition to playing a combination of T20,50 over and red ball cricket against Derbyshire, Middlesex and a UAE X1.

Included in the party are the England Under-19 duo of Joe Clarke and Ed Barnard who have experienced successful winters in Australia.

They are preparing for their first season as fully fledged professionals.

The pair will be hoping to emulate Tom Kohler-Cadmore who earned a place in the side for the start of the 2014 season after impressing last March in Abu Dhabi and pre-season games in this country.

All-rounder Gareth Andrew is also part of the squad after making a full recovery from the fracture in his lumbar pedicle which prevented him from bowling after the opening four LV = County Championship matches of last season.

He has been building up his fitness at Malvern College and at New Road during the past two months.

The county squad were reunited with three of their team-mates in Richard Oliver, Jack Shantry and Ross Whiteley who flew direct from Australia to Abu Dhabi after completing club commitments with Geelong City, Greenvale Kangaroos and Prospect CC respectively.

Mitchell knows how beneficial the current trip can be after the experience of 12 months ago.

He said: "It was great last year. It was good for me as captain to get to know the younger guys who were going to be playing.

"I guess it is the same this year with the likes of Joe Clarke and Ed Barnard coming back into the frame having been on England Under-19 duty.

"It is a good chance to get to know those guys and watch them play. I don't get a lot of a chance to see the second team during the summer so that will be the big thing for me personally.

"But to get outside early, with bowlers off their long runs, a bit of sun on their back, it's easier running in bowling than in minus six degrees at Kidderminster!

"It was a great, great work-out last year. Results didn't particularly go our way on the tour.

"But it enabled us to highlight a few areas to work on in the coming pre-season games and we did that well and we really did start the season well with a draw at Hampshire and a win over Kent.

"Hopefully that preparation will stand us in good stead this time for another good start this year."

*Keep in touch with how the county are progressing in their various matches via the Worcestershire CCC website.