THE chance of winning a Gwent derby tomorrow will act as perfect motivation for two sides looking to bounce back after disappointing home defeats last time out, writes David Williams.

Cross Keys host Ebbw Vale at Pandy Park (kick-off 2.30pm) following Principality Premiership eastern conference losses to Bargoed and Pontypridd respectively.

A 34-23 reverse for Keys was a somewhat surprising result given that they had gone so close to beating champions Merthyr on the opening weekend of the new term.

The Steelmen had only just squeezed past Bargoed on matchday one before the Eugene Cross Park faithful saw their side edged out 17-6 by the visitors from Sardis Road a week ago.

And while it is still very early days, both Keys and Ebbw will be targeting a win over one of their local rivals in order to give them something to build on going forward.

“If I had hair I don’t think I’d have much left,” joked Lee Davies, who took over from Nigel Davies as Ebbw head coach in the summer. “It’s been great so far if a bit stressful.

“The job presents you with different challenges and me being relatively young I’m still getting used to dealing with all the emotions of the games and what comes with that.

“Obviously immediately after the last game I was really disappointed because I thought we did enough to get the result.

“But when you put the emotions to one side and look at it in the cold light of day, we have changed an awful lot about the way we play and it can take time for that to bed in.

“Our shape was good, we just didn’t take the chances we worked so hard to create.”

On tomorrow’s encounter, he added: “It’s a good game for both clubs and there should be a decent crowd there.

“The boys know each other extremely well and there should be that bit of bite that derbies always bring.

“Keys were exceptionally unlucky at Merthyr and I thought they would win last Saturday, but all credit to Bargoed.

“Keys will want to make up for that loss and we want to do the same after our defeat to Pontypridd.”