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Dean Ryan - We’ve got to face up to challenge
10:00am Wednesday 1st January 2014 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
DIRECTOR of rugby Dean Ryan still has every confidence that Worcester Warriors can drag themselves out of the Aviva Premiership abyss.
The Sixways side are 10 points adrift at the foot of the table and face arguably the most important game of their season on Saturday at second-from-bottom London Irish (3pm).
A first league win of the campaign would provide some light at the end of the tunnel for Warriors but a defeat would leave them on the precipice of the Championship.
The significance of the Madejski Stadium fixture is not lost on anyone connected with the club but Ryan insists his players have what it takes to pull through.
He reckons they are a much better side now than at the start of the campaign and one primed for battle.
But Worcester skipper Jonathan Thomas has now been ruled out for the weekend as he continues to recover from concussion, while centre Andy Symons is missing after breaking his collarbone against Saracens.
However, Ryan said: “I am very confident that we’re in the best place we can be.
“We’ve just got to face that challenge up.
“I can’t read into the future but I’m pretty confident we couldn’t be in better shape for a side that hasn’t got wins on the board.
“We couldn’t be in better spirits and we’ve learned to deal with things, instead of thinking everything’s the end of the world.
“We are getting there as a team and hopefully we can get the outcome we all desire.
“We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole at the beginning of the season and when you don’t win at home against Irish and Newcastle, that means you’ve got to go and do something different away from home.
“It’s a big opportunity because we would close the gap if we were successful but if Irish were to win, it would widen the gap.”
Ryan added: “We haven’t spoken about (getting) the win against Irish at all.
“We’ve spoken about operating under pressure and we’re going to be under that pressure for the rest of the season.
“If we win once, it doesn’t go away. We are in a fight to the end of the season so all we’ve spoken about week in, week out is operating under pressure and doing our jobs under that close attention.
“We’ve also spoken about that, if we can get a win, it will force other people to operate under that pressure, which will be interesting.”