Bath Rugby First-team coach Brad Davis confident of Heineken Cup spot
First-team coach Brad Davis has backed Bath Rugby to return to the Heineken Cup next season despite their stuttering start to the current campaign.
An eighth-placed finish last term meant Bath missed out on a spot in Europe's premier competition, instead having to settle for participation in the Amlin Cup.
They have looked most convincing when playing on the continent this season and have won just half of their Aviva Premiership fixtures following Sunday's defeat at London Welsh.
Their bid to reclaim a place amongst Europe's elite now sees Bath's attentions turn to the LV= Cup, with the tournament victors handed an automatic berth into next year's Heineken Cup.
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"It is another avenue for Heineken Cup qualification and I have no doubt that we will get qualification," said Davis, ahead of Bath's opener at home to Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday (2.15pm).
"Whether it's through the Premiership, the LV= or the Amlin, we're going to get it.
"It's important for us to strive for success and have that winning mentality in whichever game we play. It's a cliche but winning breeds confidence."
Despite the frustration at not being able to rectify their Premiership form for two weeks, Davis expects Bath to return to winning ways against the Dragons.
The RaboDirect Pro 12 strugglers head to The Rec on the back of five straight defeats and have won just twice this season.
"This break can be a good thing and a bad thing because when you fall off the horse you want to get straight back on it," said Davis.
"At the moment we're sitting four and four when we'd like to be coming into this break on the back of a win. Now we have to stew on it for a couple of weeks.
"But make no mistake we are going to right the wrongs from Sunday and move forward in a positive way."
A much-changed Bath side is expected to take to the field this weekend, with youngsters who have impressed in the Aviva A League set to be rewarded with first-team chances in the absence of internationals Francois Louw, Davey Wilson, Paul James and Horacio Agulla.
New signing Nick Koster is likely to feature either this weekend or in next Friday's trip to Harlequins, with the club also hopeful Ryan Caldwell will be fit to play for the first time this season.
"The positive part over the next two weeks is that we're able to give some guys a much-needed break," said Davis.
"If we are honest and look at our squad in terms of what happened on Sunday then there's got to be a few spots up for grabs.
"We have guys who have really put their hands up from day one of our training camp in Wales and have been delivering in the United fixtures. They are going to get their opportunity.
"Nick Koster is available, so it'll be good to see him get some game time for the first time in a long time. Ryan Caldwell will be in the mix somewhere along the line as well.
"The LV= is a competition that has to be respected. We respect it massively and showed that with the run we went on last season. Whatever team we put out we want to be competitive and put in good performances."
Tickets are still available for Saturday's game against Newport Gwent Dragons (2.15pm). Call the Bath Rugby Ticket Office on 0844 448 1865 to get yours.