The Northern Knights hopes of capturing a second T20 Trophy crown in three years have been dealt a blow with the news that star player Paul Stirling will miss the opening Festival in Dublin.
The30-year-old is currently playing for Middlesex in the T20 Blast, but is expected to return for next week's Festival in Bready.
In better news Clontarf paceman David Delany returns to the Knights for the first time following knee surgery.
"We can't wait to get going in the T20 format this weekend," said Head Coach Simon Johnston.
"A number of the guys have enjoyed successful T20 campaigns with their respective clubs, scoring big runs and taking plenty of wickets."
Two of the squad are currently second and third in the NCU run aggregate charts, with CSNI's Luke Georgeson having scored 428 runs at 71.33, while Carrickfergus batsman Jeremy Lawlor's 424 runs have a Bradmanesque average of 106.
Both will be keen to continue to press their international claims, with Lawlor available for senior selection immediately, although Georgeson will have to wait having represented New Zealand Under 19s.