JORDAN Thompson says the Yorkshire supporters have a massive role to play in the team’s fight for County Championship silverware.

Thompson, 24, is preparing to play only his fourth career first-class game in front of a crowd when Sussex visit Emerald Headingley tomorrow and Dawid Malan and Gary Ballance are available again for the hosts.

On the back of some impressive recent red ball performances, the all-rounder last week signed a two-year contract extension to keep him in White Rose colours until at least the end of 2023.

In 2019, he played Championship matches at Guildford and York in front of crowds, but he has since played 10 four-day games behind closed doors last season and this.

In that time, he has grown in confidence as a cricketer and has displayed some of the passion which made the likes of Jack Brooks and Ryan Sidebottom such favourites amongst the Headingley faithful.

Approximately 4,250 members and supporters will be permitted to attend Headingley on each day this week, when they will watch Yorkshire attempt to bounce back from last week’s Roses defeat at Old Trafford, a game which also had a crowd present.

With three games to play in the initial group phase, and fighting for a top two finish, Yorkshire are 24 points behind leaders Lancashire and two points clear of third-placed Northamptonshire.

“We need the supporters on our side as much as possible,” said Thompson. “They are going to be massively important for us this season.

“But it’s up to us to give them something to shout about with the cricket we play. We have to get going quicker than we are doing in the first innings.

“The crowd were against us last week, but hopefully we can give them something to cheer about at Headingley and then Scarborough in a few weeks.

“You heard the noise when Lancashire were one or two wickets away. There were shouts from the crowd to back them up.

“That’s what we will certainly get with our supporters on their backs.”

Thompson has taken 40 wickets and scored 436 runs in his 13 game first-class career.

Last season, he took 15 wickets and scored 234 runs in five Bob Willis Trophy games and this season has taken 20 wickets in six Championship games and scored 166 runs.

“Very happy” to get the new contract sorted, the Pudsey St Lawrence man said: “It’s about maintaining my progression and being consistent now.

“Last year in the Bob Willis Trophy was where I expect myself to be. This year, I feel like I’ve bowled well but not batted up to standard.

“But there’s a lot more cricket to be played this year, across all formats, and I’m desperate to get back to the high expectations I have of myself.”

Yorkshire’s innings defeat at Old Trafford was their first since September 2019 when Kent won at Headingley.

Ironically, both defeats were with a crowd present and the unbeaten run in-between solely behind closed doors.

Ahead of a clash with a Sussex side who have only won one of seven games and lost four this season, coach Andrew Gale said: “That defeat was magnified more because it was a Roses game and both teams were at the top. But it’s one game that we’ve lost in the last 12.

“Every team bar Lancashire have lost this season. (Champions) Essex have lost twice. It’s not the end of the world, as much as it hurt.

“Sussex are an inexperienced team coming into this on the back of a loss.

“We’re back on our own patch with our supporters in the ground and a couple of good, senior players back available.

“If the lads put the resilience they showed with the bat in the second innings against Lancashire into the first innings, they’re going to win more games than they lose.

“I still want to finish top of the group. We have three games left, and I still think it’s achievable. We still have Lancashire to play at Scarborough.”

Gary Ballance and Dawid Malan come into the squad to take on Sussex.

Matthew Fisher continues his rehabilitation from an abdominal injury, while Bradford duo Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid are expected to be available for next week’s Vitality Blast opener against Birmingham Bears.

12-MAN SQUAD TO FACE SUSSEX AT EMERALD HEADINGLEY:

Gary Ballance
Dom Bess
Harry Brook
Ben Coad
Harry Duke (Wicketkeeper)
Tom Kohler-Cadmore
Adam Lyth
Dawid Malan
Duanne Olivier
Steve Patterson (Captain)
Jordan Thompson
David Willey

Sussex will be without spearhead fast bowler Ollie Robinson due to him being on England Test duty.