WORCESTERSHIRE skipper Brett D'Oliveira will be relishing a return to the top-flight next season.

Following their successful promotion campaign in 2023, The Pears will be back in the first division of the County Championship in 2024, mixing it with the big boys once again for the first time in six years.

It will no doubt be a challenge for Worcestershire, especially given they will be without some big names such as Dillon Pennington, Jack Haynes, Josh Tongue, Pat Brown and Ben Cox, who have all moved on.

But D'Oliveira is wanting his team to tackle the season head on, rather than seeing it as a daunting prospect.

"There are some excellent sides with top players in Division One and it will undoubtedly be a step up in quality," said D'Oliveira. "But we are ready to embrace the challenge and look forward to what lies ahead rather than be apprehensive.

"We achieved our goal in gaining promotion last summer and always attempted to be positive in our outlook and it will be the same mindset in 2024.

"It’s about respecting our opponents but also showing what we are capable of. We will be planning things over the winter, and making sure we are prepared as we can be for next April.

"We’ve lost a few players but recruited some good signings and it will be up to everyone to make that step up and face the challenges ahead."

The Pears now know what the season back in the top-flight will look like after the fixtures were released last week, with a mouth-watering trip to rivals Warwickshire at Edgbaston on Friday, April 5.

The release of the fixtures is always an exciting time and even more so this year with us being back in Division One and playing some teams we haven’t faced for a while.

“The two derbies with Warwickshire will be particularly special for the lads and our supporters.”