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Bristol boss Andy Robinson continues the search for players ahead of kick-off

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: September 02, 2014

ristol in training at their new Ashton Gate home yesterday ahead of their opening Championship match against Worcester on Sunday

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Andy Robinson still plans to add a centre and a prop to his Bristol Rugby squad – with a fourth tighthead being sought following Jason Hobson's enforced departure through injury.

The director of rugby is more than happy with the overall quality and depth of his squad going into Sunday's GKIPA Championship opener against Worcester at Ashton Gate – but will continue to search for a couple of additions.

Bristol are understood to be close to agreeing a deal to take a centre – thought to be Gareth Maule of Scarlets – on loan for the season, while the search for a tighthead to compete with Anthony Perenise, James Hall and Gaston Cortes is less advanced.

"We're searching for a centre – that's something we will continue to do – and we're looking at a number of loan players," said Robinson.

"And, with losing Jason Hobson to injury, I think it's important that we look for a tighthead to come in and support those we already have here.

"We're carrying three tightheads – three very good tightheads – but it's important to have a fourth tighthead because of the nature of this game."

Bristol opened the doors of their new home yesterday, as supporters were invited to watch the director of rugby and his coaches put the squad through their paces.

And, with a match against relegated Worcester kicking off the new season at Ashton Gate on Sunday, Robinson is relishing the new campaign, having put last season's play-off final defeat against London Welsh firmly in the past.

"You've got to move on – with any result, it's important to move on very quickly," said Robinson, whose team were beaten 48-28 on aggregate by Welsh.

"We've looked at what we had to improve for this year. We improved a lot last year in our performance from the year before – but we didn't improve enough to get promotion. What's important now is to keep on improving.

"What's happened has happened – it's history. You're not going to change it. What's important for us is to keep improving. It's a tough league – a league that's getting better and better – and it's vital for us to improve our decision-making and accuracy when it comes to winning the big games."

Sunday's clash between Robinson's Bristol and Dean Ryan's Worcester is being viewed by most who hold an opinion on the matter as an early rehearsal for the 2014-15 Championship play-off final next May.

But while Robinson acknowledged the quality of Sunday's visitors, he also said the Championship had shown time and time again that other teams can emerge and cause the favourites problems.

"Worcester are right up there – they're the side coming down, they've invested in their squad and they've got a very good squad and are well coached," said Robinson.

"You'll always have a surprise package in this division, though – look at Rotherham last season. The opportunity is there for all teams to put a run of games together.

"The difference between Worcester and Bristol [and the other teams] is the depth of squad that we have and the quality within that squad. That's what hits the likes of Rotherham really hard, for example.

"But, as we saw last year, all sides are able to perform. With the quality of the two teams, it's right that Worcester and Bristol should be in the play-offs – but you can't just expect it to happen. We've got to make sure we work hard and achieve that – we don't want any slip-ups.

"It just takes three sides to have good seasons – and Leeds, London Scottish and Rotherham are all good sides – and they will put their hands up and put Worcester and ourselves under pressure."

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