The Ashes: England may name cover for Kevin Pietersen in their third Test squad
England will announce their squad for the third Test against Australia on Sunday morning.
Last Updated: 28/07/13 6:56am
The 33-year-old batsman picked up a calf injury during the second Test and has been following a rehabilitation programme since in a bid to be fit for Old Trafford.
He is likely to be in the squad but the selectors may decide to pick 14 players on this occasion, meaning there would be room for a reserve batsman who could act as cover for Pietersen.
Nottinghamshire's James Taylor was drafted into the Sussex side to face Australia this week at the request of the England management, suggesting he is hot favourite to fill in if Pietersen misses out.
Middlesex's Eoin Morgan, Somerset's Nick Compton and Yorkshire's Gary Ballance are other candidates but Ravi Bopara is struggling with a side strain.
If no extra batsman is selected it would imply that England coach Andy Flower is very confident that Pietersen will be fully fit.
The hosts may be unchanged otherwise, having romped to a 347-run victory in the second Test at Lord's, which put them 2-0 up in the five-match series.
They have named 13-man squads for the first two Tests and Graham Onions has missed out on both occasions, with Tim Bresnan sitting out the opener before coming in for Steven Finn.
Old Trafford has a reputation as a pitch which sometimes provides slow bowlers with plenty of assistance and Monty Panesar is the player likely to benefit if England decide to give themselves the option of playing two specialist spinners.