County news September 27, 2012

Derbyshire eye Godleman signing

Derbyshire are hoping to continue strengthening their squad with the signing of Billy Godleman, the 23-year-old opening batsman who was released by Essex towards the end of the 2012 season. Godleman made his first-class debut for Middlesex as a 16-year-old - the second youngest man to make his first-class debut for the club - and represented England at every level from Under-15s to Under-19s.

Having joined Essex for the 2010 season, he averaged in the mid-20s in 2010 and 2011 and despite scoring a century in Essex' opening Division Two game in 2012 he lost his first-team place in the latter half of the summer and was told his contract would not be renewed.

Derbyshire, who won promotion to Division One for the 2013 season, also announced the signing of wicketkeeper Richard Johnson from Warwickshire earlier this week. Their aim is for Godleman to open the batting and hope he can mirror the success of other players - such as Chris Wright, Stephen Peters, Varun Chopra and Derbyshire seamer Tony Palladino - whose fortunes improved significantly once they left Essex.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo