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Mike Ford: Gloucester derby is 'massive game' for Bath

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 04, 2012

Bath’s first-team coach Mike Ford

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“It’s more than just another Premiership game for us – we want to have those West Country derby bragging rights.”

That is the rallying cry from first-team coach Mike Ford to the Bath squad as they look to beat Gloucester and break their Kingsholm hoodoo.

Bath have not picked up a Premiership win on trips to face their neighbours since the 2005-06 season, with Gloucester completing the double over them in each of the past two campaigns.

However, Ford – who joined as part of Gary Gold’s new coaching structure over the summer – is determined to take at least four points back to The Rec on Saturday.

“We see it as a massive game and that’s how we want the players to see it as well,” said the former England defence chief.

“The fans have every right to be pumped up. Some games are a bit juicier than others – I’ve played in Wigan v St Helens games in rugby league, so I know all about it.

“We know how passionate Gloucester will be playing in front of the Shed. We want to make sure we are just as, if not more, passionate than that.”

Despite the poor run of results against the Cherry & Whites, Ford says it will not affect Bath’s players.

After previous away trips to Worcester and London Irish this term, he cited this weekend’s game as a real standout during the new coaching team’s brief tenure.

“I don’t think our recent record there is something that plays on the team’s mind,” he said. “Players don’t tend to think about that sort of thing.

“Kingsholm is always a tough place to go, but I’ve been there as head coach of Saracens and last year at Newcastle with Gary and have come away with two wins.

“Apparently Saracens hadn’t won there for 30-odd years, but that wasn’t even something I was aware of at the time. The players will just want to go and play, they won’t be thinking they haven’t won there for five or so years.

“I think this game is one of our most important so far. It’s not a test to see how far we’ve come, but one where we can see how quickly we’ve developed in the new structure.

“We need to see if we have learned from our mistakes and if we don’t turn up with the right mindset, it will be a long afternoon for us.

“The feeling after Sale last Saturday was that we didn’t capitalise on our good positions. If we do that against Gloucester it will allow them to relieve pressure, put themselves in good field positions and give them the chance to put points on the board.”

Stephen Donald is expected to fill the vacant fly-half role at Kingsholm, left by Olly Barkley’s departure.

Stuart Hooper is a doubt after limping off in the final few minutes against Sale, while Matt Banahan, Tom Heathcote, Rob Webber and Ryan Caldwell are all injured and Francois Louw is still on international duty, but Ben Williams could be fit.

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