MARCUS Trescothick has been dropped from the Somerset squad ahead of this week's Specsavers County Championship match against Kent, but in-form Lewis Gregory returns after injury.

The fixture begins tomorrow (11am start) at Canterbury, and head coach Jason Kerr admitted to facing one of the toughest decisions in his cricket career.

Ex-England opener Trescothick is not only a club legend, but also a close friend of Kerr's.

However, the 43-year-old has managed only 86 runs in eight Championship innings this season, at an average of 10.75.

Azhar Ali missed last week's victory over Surrey at Guildford – which handed Somerset a 15-point gap at the top of the Division 1 table – but has recovered from his chest infection.

With Tom Banton having shone in the Royal London One-Day Cup and done well as Ali's replacement last week, Kerr admits there is no room for sentiment when it comes to Trescothick.

He said: “While no one admires Tres more as a player and a person, my philosophy has always been that the greater good of the team goes before any other consideration.

“No-one is more aware his poor form than Marcus himself.

"He works so hard at his game, as well as remaining a real leader for us in the dressing room.

“He was caught behind off his hip in the second innings at Guildford and that is the sort of thing that happens when you are struggling.

“But Tom Banton came in for Azhar and looked really at home, taking the confidence from some terrific white ball performances into the Championship."

Somerset announced a 13-strong squad for the Kent match, with Trescothick not travelling to Canterbury.

Somerset squad: Tom Abell (c), Azhar Ali, Tom Banton, George Bartlett, Jack Brooks, Steve Davies, Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Tom Lammonby, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton.

Having announced the squad, Kerr commented: "You have to put emotion to one side, and when Marcus and I discussed the situation he was focused on what is best for the team at this moment in time.

"I think that’s a testament to the kind of person he is and to what the club means to him.

"He’ll now look to play some Second XI cricket, get some runs on the board and get some confidence behind him.

"Obviously the door is very much still open for him.”

Another selection headache concerns the seam bowling attack, with Lewis Gregory travelling to Canterbury after missing the last match due to an intercostal muscle injury.

Jack Brooks claimed 5-33 to see off Surrey, Craig and Jamie Overton have both shown excellent form, and Josh Davey and Tim Groenewald have chipped in with vital wickets this season - but Davey has not made the cut for this match.

“That’s the sort of competition for places we have aimed for,” said Kerr.

“Whoever is left out among the seamers can feel unlucky because we have bowled incredibly well.

“We will assess Lewis before the game and go with what we feel is our strongest line-up.

"Kent played well at Taunton in our opening game or the season and will provide another tough test."

Since losing their opening match at Taunton, Kent have gone on to win one, draw one and lose two more, to sit fifth in the early Division 1 standings.

Zak Crawley (406) and Ollie Robinson (361) have been Kent's top run scorers so far, while Matt Milnes has claimed 26 wickets at an average of 25.80, and Harry Podmore 24 at 26.29.