ALASTAIR Cook says Essex’s promotion hopes this season could rest on steering clear of injuries.

Essex are third in the embryonic county championship division two table after a win and a draw from their two games.

England captain Cook has been Essex’s star performer scoring centuries in both his side’s win over Derbyshire and this week’s draw against Surrey.

They travel to winless Gloucestershire on Sunday for their third game of the campaign and Cook is hoping the strong start continues, even if they are short on numbers.

“Promotion is definitely possible but we are a few bodies down at the moment and we’ve only got about a 13-man squad available at the moment because of injuries.

“Hopefully these guys can stay fit because we haven’t got any other available seamers at present, which is a bit if a worry.

“But if this eleven can play well for the next couple of weeks and get another win and don’t lose any of the first four games, you start seeing yourself heading towards the top of the table and then anything is possible. But there’s a long way to go after just two games.”

Cook also welcomed the signing of New Zealand big hitter Jesse Ryder.

He said: “It’s a good move signing Jesse Ryder because myself and Ravi (Bopara) might miss quite a bit of the one-dayers so that’s a couple of senior batters leaving the squad. Jesse’s experience and firepower should be very useful for the season ahead.”