London Irish winger Topsy Ojo believes victory over fellow strugglers Worcester Warriors will provide the perfect launchpad for pushing themselves up the Aviva Premiership table.
This Saturday sees the league’s bottom two clubs pit themselves against each other, with winless Warriors travelling to the Madejski Stadium looking to move closer to the rest of the pack.
But Ojo and London Irish have opposite thoughts on their mind, instead wanting to increase the current gap of ten points and get themselves a first league win in seven.
The Exiles have won six of their last seven clashes with Worcester in all competitions, including a 20-18 victory at Sixways in round two.
And with Friday’s game the last Aviva Premiership match ahead of a month’s break, Ojo admits victory in the crunch match would give the side a big boost.
“It’s a massive game for us against Worcester, we all know what’s riding on it. But it’s not about putting extra pressure on ourselves,” said Ojo. “We know we can perform, and we know we are capable of scoring tries.
"Worcester will also be desperate for a win, probably more so than us but we have belief in our own skills.
“We are at home which is a positive and hopefully we can build on that. It will be a hard fought game.
“If we win it opens up a bit of a gap and it means we can come back off the break with a bit of momentum.
“We can start looking up the table at who we can catch in tenth, ninth and eighth and be a bit more optimistic.”
Worcester Warriors became only the third side in the history of the Premiership to reach the halfway stage without gaining a victory – the others being Bedford in 1999/2000 and Rotherham in 2003/4.
Their last Aviva Premiership win in their last 22 games was a 29-23 home win over London Wasps in March while their last victory in all competitions was their 24-13 Amlin Challenge Cup triumph over Stade Francais in December.
But with the Exiles also struggling of late, including four league points from their last six Aviva Premiership matches, forward Richard de Carpentier believes they can capitalise and claim their first win.
“There’s no getting away from it, it is a big game and we are not trying to hide from that as a group of players,” he said.
“We know we’re not in a good position and it’s a great chance for us to try and get that win against another team who are struggling.
“Their results have not been that great lately either but we feel like we’re building and improving.
“We have to play it as a normal game even though we know it is an important one for us and for them as well.”
(Madejski Stadium, 3pm)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (130th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Andrew Pearce. TMO: Sean Davey.