CROSS Keys chief Greg Woods has backed Ebbw Vale counterpart Lee Davies to come good after a difficult start to his tenure as head coach at Eugene Cross Park.

However, Woods will be hoping that Davies’ Steelmen, who have lost two-thirds of their Principality Premiership East fixtures so far, don’t choose tonight to begin a renaissance.

Ebbw host Keys (kick-off 7.15pm) this evening with the visitors having also won three from nine in the league to date – one of those came on home turf against the Steelmen in September.

Keys go into the reverse encounter buoyed by two improved performances, the first in defeat to Merthyr a fortnight ago, the second against Bargoed last week.

A 25-9 win at Bargoed Park took Keys off the bottom, lifting them to sixth place and pushing Ebbw down to seventh one point worse off.

While Keys were pulling clear of the Bulls in the second half of their Gwent derby, the Steelmen’s chances of winning at Sardis Road had long been extinguished.

A disastrous start for Ebbw saw hosts Pontypridd secure a four-try bonus point inside the opening quarter, before going on to clinch a 45-12 triumph.

The Steelmen lifted the Premiership trophy on Pontypridd soil last year but that seemed a distant memory as they succumbed to a sixth loss of the campaign.

“I think Ebbw Vale are going through a bit of a transition, but this league is tough and after a couple of defeats you start looking to see where your next win is coming from,” said head coach Woods.

“Lee is a good coach who has a lot of experience and a good pedigree from working in the lower leagues and doing well in college rugby.

“It takes any new squad time to gel and I’m sure Lee will do well there.”

On his own team, he added: “Going to Eugene Cross Park is always tough but it’s a chance for us to back up a good performance with another one and bring a bit of consistency to our season.

“We played well against Bargoed. We followed on from Merthyr and the second half was as good as we’ve played since the first game of the season, which was very pleasing.

“The boys relaxed a little bit more and kept the ball rather than kicking it away, and it was great to see the youngsters play so well.

“The senior players stepped up and played really well, and that made the job of the youngsters that bit easier.”