ESSEX are in talks to bring two Kent Spitfires players to the Ford County Ground.

Firstly, the two counties are believed to be in discussions that would allow young batsman Neil Dexter to move north of the River Thames on a short-term contract later this month.

Second, the Eagles are also thought to be considering offering terms to veteran former England paceman Martin Saggers, who took ten wickets in two LV County Championship games between while on a month's loan at Chelmsford earlier this summer.

The 21-year-old Dexter, who scored an unbeaten 31 in Kent's Twenty20 Cup win at the County Ground in June, would be seen as a replacement for all-rounder Ravinder Bopara, who leaves for England duty next week.

The arrival of Saggers, meanwhile, would bolster a seam attack decimated by the loss of Darren Gough to Yorkshire and a host of others to injury this year.

Meanwhile, Essex's current stars are off to the Midlands, where they will contest two limited-overs games in the next 48 hours.

The Eagles begin their defence of the Twenty20 Floodlight Cup competition this evening when take on Derbyshire.

Then, tomorrow, Mark Pettini's struggling side take on Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge desperately searching for the victory that would kick-start their Pro40 season, having managed just a single point from their four matches so far.

Essex won the inaugural Twenty20 Floodlight competition last year when Derbyshire, Glamorgan and Sussex were also involved, although the latter two have dropped out of the competition this time around to be replaced by the PCA Masters select side.

First team coach Paul Grayson admits that both of the next two fixtures are significant.

"People might look at the Derbyshire match as being unimportant but we need to win matches to give ourselves a bit of confidence that is naturally missing from our game at the moment," he explained.

"Then tomorrow, it's vital that we beat Nottinghamshire. We are bottom of the Pro40 League at the moment and I looked at our dressing room on Sunday after our defeat and saw players in there who perhaps for the first time in their Essex careers have forgotten how to win matches.

"It's important therefore that we get back into winning ways and get back the winning habit."

Essex squad for both matches from: M Pettini, V Chopra, R Bopara, G Flower, J Foster, R ten Doeschate, J Middlebrook, A Bichel, G Napier, D Kaneria, T Palladino, J Ahmed, T Phillips.