SOMERSET fast bowler Andy Caddick is hoping to make his comeback next week in the Liverpool Victoria Championship game against Surrey at Whitgift School.

Caddick has not played a competitive game this season after undergoing back surgery in the winter.

The 39-year-old suffered a muscle strain in his back during a pre-season game which delayed his comeback further.

The Cidermen will be desperate to see last season's leading wicket-taker return after drawing all three Championship games, which has seen them slip to the foot of the table.

His presence has been sorely missed - no better demonstrated than last Saturday when Somerset failed to bowl out Sussex, who batted out the final day to save a draw.

Caddick, who captured 70 Championship wickets last season to help Somerset win promotion, resumed full training over a week ago. And, despite a bout of bronchitis which set him back but this week, he is close to a return.

He said: "Everything is going well for me and if things continue to progress in the way that they have, then next week's match at Whitgift School is when I am hoping to play my first game in the Championship.

"I have been bowling more and more every day and training with the rest of the team so now I just have to go that extra step and I will be ready to make my comeback."

Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose said: "I think Andy is likely to be ready to return for the away game against Surrey and we are likely to try to find him a game to play in over the weekend.

"He is pretty upbeat about the way things are going and can't wait to return to the team."

Caddick is expected to turn out for Clevedon in their clash at home to Minehead in the West of England League Bristol and Somerset Division this Saturday. They are the club Caddick played for when he first came to the country from New Zealand.

Caddick's return along with the availability of Mark Turner who has been missing from the team since the opening Championship game at Old Trafford with an abdominal strain, is going to create further headaches for the selectors.

However, Somerset skipper Justin Langer said he will welcome the problem.

He said: "When we get Andy Caddick fit it is going to be a selection nightmare because Mark Turner was brilliant up at Old Trafford and he is also nearly ready to return. Alfonso Thomas has got a lot of experience all of which is brilliant for the team, but no good if you are a selector!"