Derbyshire are almost certain to agree to Dominic Cork's request to be released from the remaining two years of his contract later today. Although Cork signed a new contract in June, he is reportedly "deeply offended" by a perceived snub from Derbyshire's new director of cricket, Dave Houghton.

Houghton has made no decision about the captaincy for the 2004 season, something that has deeply angered Cork. "Of course I see a role for [Cork]; he's a fantastic cricketer who is highly regarded and respected," said Houghton. "Whether that's in a leadership role as captain or not we'll have to see after our discussion."

But relations between the county and Cork, 32, appear to be irreconcilable, and a parting is now inevitable. Cork will have to buy himself out of the contract, as John Crawley did when he left Lancashire at the end of the 2001 season.