OPENER James Burke is set to make his first appearance of the season for Devon in the game against Cheshire starting on Sunday.
Budleigh batter Burke, a regular for the past three seasons, hasn't featured at all this season in three-day cricket as his Somerset 2nd XI commitments have been getting in the way.
There is no clash next week, which works out well for Devon as they are without work-tied opener James Toms, one of a number of batsmen tried out in Burke's slot this season.
Exmouth's Seb Benton might have come into contention for a recall had he been available, not necessarily to open but to bat early in a reshuffled order. However he has work commitments too.
Burke will open up with Exeter's Rob Holman, which will be the fifth different pairing in as many games this season.
Unlike some of the others Devon have tried, Holman and Burke are no strangers having been paired together for most of the previous two seasons.
Spinner Will Squire is added to the squad at the expense of Max Curtis, but will be travelling as a member of the squad not a designated 12th man, which was Curtis' job against Wiltshire at Exmouth two weeks ago.
There are no other changes to the travelling party as Exmouth seamer Mark Orchard hasn't proved his fitness to return after missing the win over Wiltshire. Budleigh's Matt Kidd continues as third seamer.
Bess is hoping a return to the old guard at the top of the order will bring around a change in fortunes.
Devon have often struggled against the new ball this season, but having Burke back should make a difference.
"We need to start playing our best cricket on day one, not leaving it until day two and three," said Bess.
"Of course I am pleased with the fight we have shown to get into matches after poor first days, and beating Wiltshire in the last game was a great result.
"What we need is to stop losing early wickets, and losing them in bunches. I don't want to be on the back foot the way we have been.
"James has been one of our leading run scorers over the last two seasons and it is good to have him back."
Perming the bowling arrangements will have to wait until Devon get to Bowdon on Sunday morning and have a look at the pitch.
"We are going with a 12 to pick from and what the pitch looks like will decide whether we go with Will as an extra spinner," said Bess.
"He is certainly the next in line for a chance, having bowled consistently well in the Lions this season."
Devon have been looking for a back-up spinner all season as Chris Bradley has borne the brunt of the bowling in that discipline.
There had been speculation around the Devon camp that left-armer Chris Metters may be in line for a return.
Metters hasn't played for Devon since 2010 when he signed a contract with Warwickshire having impressed as the leading wicket taker the year before in Minor Counties cricket.
Injuries have plagued Metters for the past two seasons and he is currently on the way back from a shoulder operation. It seems unlikely his contract will be renewed by Warwickshire when it runs out at the end of the season.
Metters is back playing for Exmouth in the Devon Premier Division, but for now isn't on the county's radar.
"He has hardly played for two years and asking him to play four days on the trot – there is Saturday in the league as well – is too much too soon," said Bess.
"If Chris is around next year it may be a different story."
Devon: R J Holman (Exeter), J E Burke (Budleigh), M W Thompson (Torquay), D F Lye (Exmouth), J J Bess (Sidmouth), R W Davies (Tavistock), A P W Allen (Budleigh), M C Golding, C Bradley (both Bovey), M J L Kidd (Budleigh), T S Anning (Exmouth), W D Squire (Bradninch).
Cheshire: W M Goodwin, J P Kettle, R A L Moore, J A Duffy, K Sawas, L F Dixon, D O Berry, J J Williams, A J Sydall, D A Woods, I J S Tait. 12th: N James.
Umpires: G Parker & K Fergusson