SOMERSET head coach Jason Kerr is ensuring his players keep their feet on the ground despite their healthy advantage at the top of the County Championship Division 1 table.

Kerr’s side are 24 points clear of second-placed Hampshire going into this weekend’s trip to Essex, a match which begins on Sunday (11am).

“It is irrelevant what the table says right now or what other teams are doing,” Kerr said.

“We just have to keep doing what we have been doing and control what we can control.

"Our bowling unit have been brilliant and Lewis Gregory, in particular, has been outstanding of late.

“The supporters are feeling optimistic, which is great, but we have to park that for now and focus on the task at hand, starting with a tricky game at Essex.”

Dom Bess will travel with the Somerset squad after returning from his loan spell at Yorkshire.

The 21-year-old played four Championship matches for the White Rose, scoring 156 runs at 39 and taking seven wickets at 33.43, including an unbeaten 91 and 3-45 against Somerset's next opponents.

Kerr said: “We all know what a fantastic cricketer Dom is.

“The fact is, Jack Leach has bowled five competitive overs in the last month - pitches have suited seamers of late so we wouldn’t have picked two spinners.

“Dom has gone out on loan and played very well, and he comes back to us full of confidence.”

Leach and Bess could have a role to play at Chelmsford - Essex spinner Simon Harmer took 5-23 and 7-38 in the hosts' victory over Hampshire earlier this week - but Kerr is keeping his options open.

"We will assess the pitch on Sunday morning and make a decision then," he said.

"I have seen footage of the Hampshire game and it seamed around too. It wasn't turning square and there were some poor shots against the spin."

Seamer Josh Davey, who has missed Somerset’s last two Championship matches through injury, successfully returned to action with 5-24 for the Second XI against Middlesex at Southgate CC this week, while Craig Overton is making "good progress" with regard to the groin injury which forced him off the field during the win at Canterbury.

“Touch wood, we will be at full strength going into the Essex game,” Kerr said.