As Yorkshire prepared this week to embark on two weeks on the road, the short trip to Liverpool might not have seemed too arduous.
But, as things have turned out, to go into a Roses match with five key men missing and the likelihood of fielding a wicketkeeper from outside the squad has meant it has become a more daunting derby than usual.
In yet another case of County Championship matches often being decided by who is available to play against whom, Yorkshire lost two players to England Lions and Lancashire none, while Jimmy Anderson was available and Tim Bresnan wasn’t.
Anderson apart, Lancashire appear to have no one nudging the selectors, while two members of the England hierarchy were overheard last week admitting that Yorkshire might be a little miffed if more of their men were in the Lions squad.
Jonny Bairstow and Ajmal Shahzad were the two selected to face Sri Lanka at Derby, but skipper Andrew Gale, Adam Lyth and Adil Rashid might also have been in contention.
Bresnan finished the drawn match against Hampshire suffering from tightness in the same calf he injured during the Ashes series, while Gerard Brophy ended the game with a bruised and swollen thumb.
As Brophy was earmarked to take over the wicketkeeping duties for Bairstow, Yorkshire have drafted in former player Simon Guy as cover rather than pitch 15-year-old Barney Gibson into a Roses battle.
Guy, 32, was released at the end of the 2009 season and his last first-class appearance was in July 2007. He now plays for Marske in the North Yorkshire and South Durham League, where he hit 95 from 68 balls in a remarkable match against Bishop Auckland on May 14, in which 701 runs were scored in 100 overs.
Richard Pyrah (knee) and Anthony McGrath (back) are also missing for Yorkshire, although McGrath is to make his comeback for the second team this week and could be available when Yorkshire head south at the weekend.
They have a Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Worcester on May 22 prior to successive Championship games, with one day off in between, at Taunton and Hove. They then have a further one day’s break before embarking on their Twenty20 Cup programme.
After biding his time in the second team, despite a prolific winter in Zimbabwe, Gary Ballance is in the team to play Lancashire after hitting 47 in the CB40 defeat to Kent on May 15. Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Moin Ashraf will cover for Bresnan and Shahzad.