Leroy Houston admits Bath Rugby have had to learn how to grind out results in Aviva Premiership Rugby the hard way this season, but now with only five rounds to go he is hoping last week’s win over Newcastle Falcons can be a stepping stone for the club.
Mike Ford’s side edged out the Falcons 21-19 at the Rec, but Bath rode their luck with Newcastle missing three drop-goal attempts in a nervy encounter.
It was their second win in three matches, and going into a west country derby with Gloucester Rugby this weekend, Houston admits the timing is perfect to have found some momentum.
But he knows they have to raise their game even further for their final five Aviva Premiership Rugby clashes if they are to haul themselves up the league standings.
"It was good to get a winning feeling back in the changing room, but for me we could have done a bit better – just because we have so much talent in the squad," he said.
"It shouldn't be too much to ask for is to go the extra step, and I've found it a bit frustrating at times this season where I think we've not been as good as we could be.
"That's a good thing I think as it shows we are looking to be better, but the Newcastle game can be a good stepping stone.
"We got over the line which is something we haven't been doing, and something we didn't have to do very much last year.
"It's been a new learning curve to grind out these results, and we've been learning the hard way to be honest but hopefully we've come out the other side now."
After Bath’s win last weekend, Ford admitted he was relieved that the cavalry were returning to the Rec this week, with the likes of son George, Jonathan Joseph, and Anthony Watson all returning from England duty to challenge for spots in Bath's back-line.
And Houston believes the returning Grand Slam winners have injected a new lease of life into his side at just the right time.
"It has felt like that, definitely," he said. "Training with everyone this week has been great and the guys coming back have brought back a good vibe and a lot of professionalism.
"George was straight out there getting the young guys to talk more, and it was good to see him assume that leadership role straight away.
"Guys like that get the younger guys doing what they need to, and experience like that will be so important the next few weeks.
"It's going to be a tough challenge but we think we can do it and get up into the top six. We're taking it one game at a time and it's a huge one emotionally this week against Gloucester.
"We know that will be a big game for both teams, but they skinned us at home last time so it would be good to go to their place and have a go at them."
If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 28 May, tickets are still available from premiershiprugby.com/final.