Bowling coach Matt Mason is optimistic Worcestershire all-rounder Gareth Andrew will be able to undertake a full programme of winter fitness work and be ready to return to bowling by the start of next season.

Andrew picked up 20 wickets in four LV County Championship matches and relished taking the new ball before suffering a fracture in one of his lumbar pedicles.

He continued to be available as a batsman, captaining the second eleven and playing some white ball cricket for the senior side, while the fracture has slowly healed.

But Andrew's bowling is a key element although Joe Leach proved to be an able replacement in the all-rounder role with 33 wickets and useful contributions with the bat

. Mason, who is also assistant coach, said: "From all accounts it (the back) is healing well. We expect to get a full winter from Gazza which will be great because it was a bit interrupted last year.

"That should mean plenty of time in the gym getting strong, getting fit, getting back to bowling after Christmas slowly but we will manage him well.

"All being well, he will be ready to start the season for us."

Mason added: "Gazza took 20 wickets at about 14-15 each which was a fantastic start to the season.

"It was such a shame for him that he didn't get to carry on because he is a key member of our side. He gives us such great balance.

"But what it has done has given a terrific opportunity to Joe Leach to impress and he has done just that and eased the burden on the team by fitting in like he has done."