10:30am Friday 11th April 2014
EBBW Vale won't want to endure the same fate as Leicester City after securing the Championship title, writes Chris Kirwan.
The Foxes ensured their return the Barclay's Premier League last weekend and clearly enjoyed their well-earned celebrations – they were given a 4-1 home thrashing by Brighton on Tuesday.
The corks were also popping at Eugene Cross Park on Saturday night after they recorded a 50-7 victory against Beddau that cemented their return to the Principality Premiership.
But they are not clocking off until September – they have won 21 out of 21 Championship games and Bridgend Athletic, Llanharan, Bonymaen, Bargoed and Narberth stand between them and a perfect campaign.
"We're already promoted but going through the season unbeaten is a massive incentive to keep the foot down," said assistant coach Duane Goodfield ahead of tomorrow's trip to Bridgend.
"The boys missed out on that last season (when they suffered a solitary surprise loss to Whitland) and will want to put that right but the run-in is not easy.
"But the standards are set by the players themselves – Damien Hudd is a fantastic leader on and off the field and people like Mathew (CORRECT) Williams, who has been here for so many years, are not going to let things slip."
While Ebbw are looking to maintain their perfect record, two desperately out of form sides clash in a Gwent derby at the Welfare Ground.
Newbridge's early season form should ensure they don't get dragged into a relegation dogfight but they are looking nervously over their shoulder after win just one of their eight games since the turn of the year.
Blackwood are right in trouble, sitting at the bottom of the pile and four points behind both Bonymaen and Beddau.
The Glan-yr-Afon Park outfit have games in hand against their relegation rivals but have not had a league point to show for their efforts against Ebbw Vale, Bargoed, Pontypool and Tondu.
That needs to change if they are to be within striking distance when they head to Beddau on April 26 and when they host Bonymaen on the final day of the season.
Sixth-placed Pontypool are still in the mix for the runners-up spot after an impressive 16-3 win at Bargoed last weekend.
Pooler will need results to go their way if they are to overhaul RGC 1404 and could do with another bonus point win against Tondu, who they beat 40-10 at the Park in December.
Other fixtures: Beddau v Narberth, Bonymaen v Bargoed, Llanharan v RGC 1404, Tata Steel v Cardiff Met
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