COACH Brad Davies hopes to use his experience of relegation dogfights to help Cinderford weather their National One storm.
Cinderford welcome Loughborough to Dockham Road tomorrow (2.30pm) sitting one from bottom in the league, while the students are safe in 11th.
Cinderford have two games in hand on the rest of the league and are only two points from safety but they have suffered two defeats on the bounce; a 35-29 defeat to Fylde away and a heartbreaking 29-28 loss to Richmond at home.
Former Gloucester and Moseley fly-half Davies is no stranger to the pressure that creeps in at the end of the season.
For three seasons running, Moseley found themselves in the Championsip relegation play-offs and Davies was part of the effort to keep the club safe.
The 31-year-old said: “I hope my experience of this scenario comes through and helps the guys.
“I have text the guys and just said to them that as soon as you start holding back you’re finished. You have to keep playing rugby.
“We don’t need to keep repeating the ‘R’ word, everyone is aware of where we are. These are young guys and they don’t need that pressure.
“There is just another game of rugby tomorrow and if you start thinking it is anything else during the game, you will struggle.
“If you start thinking, ‘What if this happens?’ you’ve already lost.”
Davies is not underestimating the magnitude of the Loughborough clash.
The students beat the Foresters 36-28 in the reverse fixture and while Cinderford’s form has undoubtedly improved in the second half of the season, Davies is wary the side is not working smartly enough.
And the Dockham Road side know they must be at their absolute best against Loughborough to keep their survival hopes alive.
Davies said: “We cannot give away any more soft points like two tries against Richmond.
“We are working very hard but not smartly enough.
“We are making tackles but leaving ourselves exposed and it’s hurting us. We need to slow the game down and be more organised.
“If we want to stay in this league we have to win games against opposition around us. If we don’t, perhaps we don’t deserve to be there.
“So much is riding on this game. If we don’t get a result we are making life very difficult for ourselves.
“Getting two bonus points was the best way to lose last week but it’s difficult because we went there to win.”
Captain George Evans and wing Nev Codlin will start tomorrow after missing last week’s clash, but fly-half Mark Davies and back row forward Adam Balding remain sidelined with injury sustained before last week’s game.