Last nights result at The Madejski Stadium, with London Irish beating Bath 31-15, went our way and Saturday's game between Bath and Leeds at the Recreation Ground is another extremely important fixture in our battle to avoid relegation to National Division One.
However, one of my favourite sayings is control the controllable.
On Sunday, we face the very impressive London Irish in what is another crucial game for NEC Harlequins. London Irish play with an intensity that it way above any other side in the Premiership. As we said before the Powergen Cup semi-final back in March, they are a powerful side whose ball retention skills are probably the best in the league.
They have some tremendous players in Mike Worsley, Richard Kirke, Ryan Strudwick, Steve Williams, Chris Sheasby, Barry Everitt, Brendan Venter, Michael Horak and many others, and we know, as you always do against the Irish, that we will face a hard physical battle if we are too get the win we so desperately need.
On the injury front, Paul Burke has fully recovered from the injury he picked-up against Bristol and forced him to miss the Ireland A game in France last weekend. Ace Tiatia has done his impression of Lazarus and will also be fit to start against the Irish either in the back row or at hooker.
All the international players have come back in one piece, although the senior squad members clearly had a very hard weeks training prior to the game against Italy. Having come in for training on Tuesday, we had to rest them on Wednesday, as they all looked so tired and battered. The England A players got back late Sunday evening having spent a ridiculous amount of time travelling between London, Manchester, Stanstead and Naples!
On Monday, the 2nd XV were well beaten by Leicester at Welford Road. The first half performance was extremely disappointing. It lacked passion and direction, although after a few words at half-time the second half was a considerable improvement. Next Tuesday (16th April, kick-off 7.30pm) there is a rare opportunity to see the 2nd XV in action at the Stoop, when we face Leicester again, hopefully reversing Monday's 41-20 defeat.
As we move nearer to Sunday's game, and to our final three Zurich Premiership fixtures away to London Wasps (26th April), home to Leeds Tykes (3rd May) and away to Sale Sharks (12th May), there is no use pretending players, coaches, staff, sponsors and supporters alike are all getting tense as the 'R' word constantly comes into the conversation. We are confident that with these four remaining games, we will gain sufficient points to ensure at least 11th place in the table and Premiership rugby for next season. I apologise in advance if it is not pretty at times, but as I said last week our situation demands a pragmatic approach - wins are all that count and how they are achieved does not matter in the slightest!
I know that there will be another tremendous showing of Quins supporters at the Madejski Stadium this Sunday. I just hope that, unlike at Bristol, we can put in a performance to match your support.
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.