Joe Ford is into his third season with Sale Sharks and the fly-half is eager to ensure his long-term future lies at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Since arriving from Yorkshire Carnegie in 2013, Ford has often played second fiddle to England stand-off Danny Cipriani at Sale, stepping in when required and collecting 113 points in 33 Aviva Premiership Rugby appearances.
Eleven of those points arrived last weekend, when the 25-year-old was handed a starting berth against Harlequins and helped the Sharks to a 29-23 victory.
Ford’s contract is up at the end of this season but with Cipriani heading south to Wasps, the opportunity is there to step into the breach – and he is eager to take it.
“The rugby that Sale are playing at the moment is exciting, because with all the options you’ve got, especially at ten, you look up and you’ve got two or three options including yourself,” he said.
“I’m really enjoying it and Dimes has put a great coaching team together now and you can how it’s working on the pitch.
“Danny’s obviously played internationally so I’ve picked up a lot of things off him. He works hard at his game and we both push each other in training so he’s been good from that point of view.
“I just work hard at my kicking, it’s a process really, you have to stick to that and if it goes over it goes over. Thankfully that happened at the weekend so I was happy.”
As ever, Ford’s is not only concerned with his own progress, but also that of younger brother George.
The 22-year-old has been entrusted with the reins at fly-half by England head coach Eddie Jones during the Six Nations and could well link up with a fit-again Manu Tuilagi against Wales on Saturday.
“He’s really enjoying it,” added Ford. “Eddie’s given not just George but the rest of the team a lot of confidence.
“He’s backed him from the start and said ‘you’re the man, go and do this job’ and you can see them growing each game and hopefully against Wales you’ll see a great performance.
“That will be brilliant, especially for George. If you’ve got Manu running off your shoulder and JJ (Jonathan Joseph) outside and [Anthony] Watson too, there are so many threats.
“And George is a threat too. It’s tough for defences, so if Manu plays it just increases the level they can reach in attack.”