ANDREW Gale is hoping he will be able to look back on Yorkshire's "times of trouble" this season in a positive way.

Yorkshire are 23 points above the Division One relegation zone with four Specsavers County Championship matches to play, starting against Middlesex at Headingley today (10.30am).

It is not the debut campaign Gale had hoped for, having retired as a player late last year to replace Jason Gillespie as coach.

They have lost four from 10 matches, including their last two, and must pick up a win soon to avoid heightened tensions at the foot of the table.

Gale said: "I've learnt so much about the players. We're looking at a group, who a lot of them have only been involved in a successful side.

"When I came through the ranks, we were fighting relegation every year. You look at some of the younger players, they've never lost four games in a season. It's been a bit of a culture shock for them.

"You learn more about players and yourself when you're going through times of trouble.

"The positive thing that can come out of this is that – certainly I had this as a player – when you come out the other side of tough times, you learn from it and become better."

Gale has already confirmed there will be changes to Yorkshire's team for this week's clash.

One that is planned is for Adam Lyth to open the batting with Shaun Marsh, as long as the former player's wife does not give birth to their first child over the next four days.

That means Alex Lees will either drop down the order or even out of the team. He has scored just 327 Championship runs at an average of 21.8 this season and bagged a pair in last month's defeat to Essex at Scarborough.

Yet the 24-year-old batsman has piled on the runs in the second team of late, posting scores of 97, 50, 135, 202 and 145 in his last seven innings.

Gale said: "I'm a massive fan of Alex Lees. Things haven't gone right for him this year but we still believe he can do the job.

"He's scored 500 runs in the last two weeks in the second team. He's a guy who's not out of form, it's just not happened for him.

"When you watch him play in the second team, he's head and shoulders above anything else on the field. He's looks a proper first-class player. I've always believed that he has the potential to be an international player.

"You're only ever one score away. When I've gone through bad patches as a player, I've thought 'if anyone bowls it straight, I'm a goner'. He's definitely nowhere near that.

"He just needs to bat for a couple of hours. If he gets that opportunity, wherever he bats in the order, I believe he will make a shedload of runs."

Marsh debuts in four-day cricket for Yorkshire and Gale said: "He's got a fantastic record. He's opened the batting for Australia and did really well there.

"As you saw in the T20, he brings a calmness to the crease. He reads the situation well. He's just a good, solid pro. He's exactly what you want in an overseas player."

Yorkshire squad: Ballance (capt), Bresnan, Brooks, Coad, Hodd (wkt), K-Cadmore, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Marsh, Patterson, Plunkett, Rashid, Sidebottom.