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Boss backs Charl Willoughby, Alviro Petersen and Greg Smith to help lead side back to Division One

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Essex coach Paul Grayson believes that his winter signings of South African duo Charl Willoughby and Alviro Petersen as well as Greg Smith will help the side win promotion back to Division One.

Essex finished seventh in Division Two last season after struggling in the early stages of the 2011 season and Grayson is expecting a far more successful campaign this time around.

"Our main target is to get promoted from Division Two," he told London24. "It's important we make a good start to the season as were playing a bit of catch up last year.

"I'm pleased with the three new signings in Alviro Petersen Charl Willoughby and Greg Smith.

"They've all fitted in well. Alviro just arrived this morning but I think he is going to be a big signing for us.

"He is an experienced batsman at the top of the order."

Petersen and Smith are expected to go straight into the side for Thursdays game against Gloucestershire, however Willoughby will miss the game with a groin problem.

Last year Essex were overly reliant on the 93 wickets of David Masters, a factor which forced Grayson to act.

"We wanted to add another experienced bowler to the squad alongside Graham Napier and David Masters and the three younger lads that weve got," he added.

"It means weve got three left-arm bowlers which is quite rare. Charl's got a terrific record.

"He's got a bit of a niggle [to his groin] at the moment and he wont be fit for Thursday. We hope hell be fit for the game against Yorkshire [on April 19].

"If he stays fit he will get wickets in Division Two, without a doubt."

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