Updated: Saturday, 21st September 2019 @ 6:10am

All or nothing: Giles hunts Lancashire promotion in first year as Old Trafford boss

All or nothing: Giles hunts Lancashire promotion in first year as Old Trafford boss

| By Ben Southworth

Ashley Giles is targeting immediate promotion to the County Championship Division One in his first season as Lancashire head coach, and hopes to bring stability back to the club.

The former England international and one-day coach believes his squad are in a good place as they look to bounce back from relegation on the final day of last season.

However, he is aware hard work is required to bring continued success to the Red Rose County, which has been promoted or relegated in each of the past three seasons.

“I am looking forward to my first season. You would be disappointed if I said I wasn’t, wouldn’t you?” said Giles.

“There is a nervousness and an excitement at the same time going into a new season – there is a lot of water to go under the bridge but I am pretty happy with where we are.

“It’s very exciting to be involved with a club of this size and with its history. Immediate promotion has to be the aim.”

It will surely be expected of a squad that will see international stars, Alviro Petersen, Peter Siddle and James Faulkner throughout the season.

Despite that Giles insists that he is more concerned with the club’s long-term health than he is with bringing immediate success.

“For me it [promotion] is not the be all and end all, it might be for the bosses, but the longer term is more important.

“We want to create some sustainability and consistency rather than going up and then down.

“Sometimes that takes time but with this year’s squad we are confident of competing very well in Division Two but that doesn’t guarantee anyone promotion or success.”

Consistency is certainly the key for Lancashire, who consistently failed with the bat during the 2014 season as players failed to replicate the form shown in Division Two.

The club have added depth to the batting line up in the shape of South African Alviro Petersen, while late arrival James Faulkner also has an international hundred to his name.

Even so Giles, who led Warwickshire to promotion in 2008 before winning the County Championship in 2012, has called on his entire team to stand up and be counted.

“We do need to find some consistency – and there can be no hiding place, the top six need to score the majority of your runs,” added the 42-year-old.

“That is their job and they know that. It is my job to support that and help them get into a zone where they can perform best.

“The bottom line is we have got to get 400 on the board to win games of cricket and until we get to the start line at Derby next week, you don’t know how we will do.”

There have been promising signs for Lancashire, who enjoyed a productive preseason tour in Sri Lanka and the UAE before racking up 499 in their friendly against Somerset last week.

Nevertheless their build up hasn’t been problem free with the news that overseas bowler Peter Siddle has been included in Australia’s touring party for this summer’s Ashes series.

But Giles is pleased for the Australian and believes it is a sign of the high calibre talent that Lancashire have been able to attract for 2015.

“If you sign really good cricketers, as Siddle is, and as the supporters and the board want me to, there is always a risk they could get snapped up,” said Giles.

“His form at the end of the Australian summer was really good, a bit too good, but we are over the moon for him.

“For us, having him for four games at the start is great and the news we can replace him with Faulkner, another Australian international, is brilliant.”

After his spell with Lancashire, Siddle departs to join an Australia squad who are red-hot favourites to win an Ashes series on English soil for the first time since 2001.

They face an England squad bereft of confidence and lacking guidance as the ECB continue to look for Paul Downton’s replacement.

A year on from his departure from the England set up and following a disappointing World Cup campaign, Giles is hoping for a change in fortunes for the national side.

 “It’s not my job to decide who replaces Paul but you need someone who is doing it for the best interests of England cricket, not their interests and not for glory,” added Giles, who played 52 tests.

“It’s a tough job but much of it is about creating the right environment, getting the right people in and creating the right culture.

“I think we have seen from the Australia side that things can turn around quickly if we get that right.”

However, a return to the England fold is not high on the Lancashire coach’s list of priorities, as he looks to broaden his horizons and lead Lancashire back to Division One.

“I had an uncomfortable experience with England last year but I said when I came here I am doing a masters in sports directorship because I wanted to broaden my horizons,” The ex-international said.

“Right now I’ve got a massive here which I am very grateful to the chairman and the chief executive for, so I have a lot on my plate.”

First up for Giles’ Lancashire is a friendly with Leeds/Bradford MCCU before they launch their promotion bid at Derbyshire beginning Sunday April 19.