CRAIG Warlow is in no doubt that this season’s relegation battle in the Principality Premiership will go down to the wire.

Warlow’s Newport are well clear of the drop zone – the bottom four face relegation while the team in 12th must beat the Championship winners to survive – with a dozen games left.

But five of those matches are against sides currently in the bottom six, starting tomorrow with a trip to the Bridge Field to play Bedwas (kick-off 2.30pm), who sit 14th out of 16.

Warlow’s charges also meet Llanelli on February 2, Bridgend and Neath in early March, before welcoming Cross Keys to Rodney Parade on the penultimate weekend of the season.

Commenting on the scrap for survival, Warlow said: “It’s going to go to the last game of the season, so one thing the Premiership won’t be lacking is excitement.

“Everybody’s primary goal at the start of the season was not to be involved in a relegation battle, and at this stage you’ve got to be a little bit, not selfish, but just focus on what you’re doing.

“There’s a split in the table and obviously Bedwas are in a real fight at the bottom, so they’ll be putting everything on the line this weekend.”

Gwent could lose three clubs from the top flight at the end of the campaign, although promotion for Pontypool would ease the blow somewhat.

“There are more clubs in the Gwent region than any other and that’s reflected in the Premiership,” added Warlow.

“But you could have a situation where Neath, Bridgend and Swansea go down, so that wouldn’t be good for the Ospreys region.

“It’s going to affect the regions, but they have got their own concerns, and representation in the Premiership is probably a fair way down the pecking order.”

Fly-half Matt O’Brien won’t be available tomorrow as he is helping coach Wales Sevens in the southern hemisphere.

While back-rower and club captain Rhys Jenkins suffered a setback last week when he picked up an infection in his arm and needed a minor operation and a short hospital stay.

Bedwas, edged out 22-17 in the reverse fixture, lost 38-17 at Llandovery last time out and have no league win since November 23.