NEC Harlequins set 'Sale' for the North yesterday afternoon with a twin mission; to seek their first back-to-back wins of the season, and find a cure for their awayday blues that has seen them go winless on the road in the Zurich Premiership for 18 months.
For the first time in their history last year, Quins went through a whole league season without a win on the road, although they were close on a number of occasions. Their chances of breaking their duck aren't helped by the the fact they will be without Paul Burke and Alex Codling, who are both out with hamstring injuries.
The last time that Quins conjured up an away win was at Rotherham in March last year, just 11 days after they had broken another lean spell by beating Newcastle after a 12 match away losing streak.
"We are under no illusions as to what is in front of us," said Quins skipper Jason Leonard.
"We know that Sale are a very good side and we will have to prepare the same way we did last week against London Irish. It is a short week for us with the game being on Friday and we will have to make sure that we stay focussed."
"Leeds played very well against us the week before and were 17 points clear going in to the last 15 minutes against Sale last week, but Sale came back well to level the game and grab a share of the spoils."
Quins, who have not beaten Sale in a league encounter for over seven years at Heywood Road, did record a famous win up there in the Powergen Cup last season in a game that went into extra-time thanks to a late drop goal from Sale's England international fly-half Charlie Hodgson, who seems in the groove already this season.
Sale will select from a squad that includes former Quins scrum half Nick Walshe and full back Vaughan Going, whilst Quins have a Sale connection in Commonwealth Games star Pat Sanderson and winger Matt Moore.
"It will be tough but I always enjoy playing at Sale. The way we play and the way they play should make a very interesting game," said Moore, who is looking forward to tonight's game.
"We played a lot better last Saturday than we have in the last couple of weeks," he continued. "We did a lot of work on rucking and ball retention in general last week, and our first up tackling was pretty good and much improved, and I think as a team everyone was doing their bit and more. That's very much what we need to do again against Sale."
If Quins can play with the same commitment as they did last week against the Exiles than they have every chance to break their away duck, and if they can find a bit more consistency to their form as well that will make make their prospects even brighter.
"I didn't think we played particularly well last week," said Quins boss Mark Evans. "Just like I thought that some of the media response was completely over the top."
"I keep saying that the margins in this division are very thin, and you can play quite similarly from one week to another and get quite different results and I don't think that we played technically quite well against Irish in certain areas. We played with enormous desire and that was good."
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.