Vice-captain Joe Leach says Worcestershire have to learn to cope with no longer being regarded as underdogs when they try to make a quickfire return to Division One of the LV = County Championship next summer.

Worcestershire were amongst the sides tipped to finish bottom of Division Two when they were last promoted to the top flight in 2014.

But it is a different scenario after the encouraging performances of last summer, despite the club going down, and the bulk of the squad all signing new long term contracts during the past three months.

Leach, the club's Players' Player Of The Year, said: "I think it is going to be a unique position for us as a team. It is probably the first time that people are going to be expecting us to do something.

"It is going to be a unique challenge and it is one we need to be ready before.

"It is something we need to prepare ourselves for because I don't think Division Two is going to be easy

"Sides like Essex are rebuilding. They are a sleeping giant really. Financially they've got a lot of clout.

"Sussex are obviously a very good team. They wouldn't have been tipped to come down at the start of the season.

"Kent went on a good run last year. Leicestershire are going to be a good side with their signings.

"It is not going to be an easy division to get out of – a bit like the Championship in football.

"So we need to make sure that we use this winter productively and get ourselves in the mindset of not being underdogs now and learning to cope with that."