ANDREW Gale says Yorkshire must improve on the minor things which all add up if they are to break the chain in the Vitality Blast.

The Vikings have slipped out of quarter-final contention with one North Group game remaining, against Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley today (1pm) - a designated away fixture to end 2020.

Gale knows all too well there are mitigating circumstances for their drop off in the last ten days, when they have lost four straight games.

For Thursday’s defeat to Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford, for example, the Vikings were without 10 players due to injury, illness and unavailability, led by Blast captain David Willey.

Gale said: “I’m not making excuses. It’s just the harsh reality we’ve had at the back end of this competition.”

Instead, he wants to see an improvement on various areas of the game as the Vikings bid to end years of disappointment in this format - they have reached Finals Day twice in 18 years and the quarter-finals only four times in that period.

And that begins today against a Derbyshire team who are playing a home fixture at Headingley because their County Ground is being used as a bio-secure venue for England’s women.

“I think we lost that game on Thursday because Lancashire were more savvy than us,” said the coach. “They know how to win games, especially at Old Trafford.

“My biggest takeaway from that game is that we have to improve in those small areas.

“Look how many twos they ran, look how many twos they saved, getting run outs, our dropped catches.

“Small areas of games can cost you - one, two or three-ball periods can.

“I just want to see improvements on those little facets of the game. Getting in and out of the over, for example.

“The first ball of the over went for a boundary four times when we were bowling, and you’re always pegging it back and staring down the barrel of going for 10. Stopping those twos on the boundary. At the death with the bat, someone needs to get us over the line.

“They are the areas in which we keep making the same mistakes.

“We know we are inexperienced. I don’t mind that, but to perform against the good teams you have to learn and learn quickly.

“We’re a team who doesn’t know how to win those close games.”

Joe Root will end the season against a Derbyshire team who have only won one of their nine games to Yorkshire’s two.

Root has scored three fifties in four Blast innings this campaign, totalling 218 runs.

Sixty four of them came in eye-catching fashion against Lancashire, earning high praise from Gale.

“It looks so easy to him,” he said. “He hardly plays a shot in anger and before you know it he’s on 50.

“He’s so elegant to watch, he’s got a lot of time, and he’s great to have around the group.

“He rang me a few days ago and said, ‘If you don’t beat Durham, are you out? Do you still want me to play (against Lancashire and Derbyshire)?’

“I said, ‘Absolutely’, because of what he brings on and off the pitch.

“We’ve got a fairly inexperienced team. So to have someone like him around, sharing his thoughts on the game, can only improve those young lads.”

Someone else who earned the thumbs up from Gale was 18-year-old Sam Wisniewski, the left-arm wrist spinner who bowled two encouraging overs for 15 at Old Trafford.

“I thought he was outstanding,” added Gale. “Left-arm chinaman bowlers are rare. He came on at a tough time with two experienced lads, (Liam) Livingstone and (Steven) Croft, going well.

“He probably bowled two bad balls in his spell, two full tosses which went for six and then one.

“What an experience for him. He was on the Yorkshire Cricket College (programme) last year, so to come in and bowl like he did I’m pleased for him. He looks like he’s got a big future.”

Yorkshire are missing Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Matthew Fisher, George Hill, Josh Poysden, Adil Rashid, Matthew Waite, James Wharton and Willey for today's clash.

Hill and Wharton are the most recent additions to the list of absentees.

Hill suffered concussion while batting in Wednesday’s defeat against Durham at Headingley, while Wharton broke a thumb in the warm-ups and played the game before a scan ruled him out on Thursday.

The Vikings beat the Falcons in their home game at Headingley last month, winning by 99 runs having posted 220-5.