Andy Caddick, who underwent surgery in the autumn after missing virtually the whole of the 2003 first class cricket season through injury, is well on the way to recovering to full fitness.

The England paceman, who made his debut for the county in 1992, has been running for sometime and Cidermen fans will be pleased to hear that he is expected to start bowling in the next couple of weeks.

Chief executive Peter Anderson told me yesterday: "Kevin Shine and fitness instructor Andy Hurry are closely monitoring Andy's rehabilitation scheme and working with the England team and we are confident that he will start bowling again during the second week of February all of which is very good news."

The Somerset boss also told me that he is talking to Caddick regarding constructing a new contract with the club for the next four seasons.

"This will depend of course on his fitness year by year, but Andy is keen to complete his career at Somerset and wants to go out on a high by taking 1000 wickets for the county," Anderson said.

Skipper Mike Burns is relishing the bowler's return and told me: "Andy Caddick is vitally important to Somerset.

"For many years he has been a great bowler and if he can come back and play for us again it would be a huge boost for us in 2004."

Coach Kevin Shine added: "Andy is a potential hundred wickets a year bowler who is a proven match winner.

"What a mouth watering prospect Richard Johnson, Nixon McLean, Simon Francis and Andy Caddick would be as a fast bowling line up."

Meanwhile Jamie Cox has now arranged to be at Somerset for the whole of the 2004 season and will step down when Ricky Ponting is available. The chief executive told me: "Ricky is very keen to come here and play but everything is still up in the air about actual dates."