With the end of the county season a month away, Division Two leaders Northamptonshire have solidified their position further by securing the services of Ireland wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O'Brien, who has signed a two-year deal to extend his stint with the county to 2013.

O'Brien, who joined Northants in 2007, has been in good form this season, scoring 594 runs in 10 games in the championship, at an average of 49.5 with a high score of 166, and said he was "looking forward to being part of the exciting things that are happening at Northants".

Head coach David Capel said he was "pleased that Niall has committed himself to Northants once again and look forward to seeing him perform over the next two seasons, helping the club achieve our ambitions".

Northants have also secured the services of Durham and Scotland batsman Kyle Coetzer on loan for the remainder of the season. The 27-year-old has scored 166 runs for Durham in the CB40 tournament and said he was "looking forward to this loan and the opportunities it may bring ... I hope to help Northants push for promotion".

Meanwhile, it has been announced that left-arm seamer David Lucas will be released by Northants at the end of the season. Lucas, 32, has spent five years at Northants, and enjoyed his most successful season in 2009, taking 60 wickets. He has found it more difficult to secure a regular first team berth this season with the success of Chaminda Vaas, however, and the up and coming all-round talent of David Willey

"The time has come to move on and explore other opportunities having been frustrated at the lack of first team cricket this year," said Lucas. "I am still committed to the cause of getting the club into Division One of the County Championship.

"I would like to thank Northants Cricket, the players and coaches for all their help and support over the years. I've had a fantastic time, made some great friends in the dressing room and would like to wish the team all the best in the future."

"We wish David every success for the future and thank him for his dedication and professionalism during his time at the County Ground," added Chief Executive Mark Tagg. "I am sure that he will continue to give 100 per cent to Northants' cause when called upon during the remainder of this season."