DRAGONS boss Bernard Jackman will be patient in the transfer market despite being down to the bare bones in the back row – declaring that he doesn't want "discards".

The Rodney Parade region had a whopping 27 players on their injured list ahead of Saturday's 29-13 win against Southern Kings with the head coach saying they would be unable to train were it not for including academy talent.

The back row is the most threadbare area of the team with just three fit seniors on the books – James Thomas, Ollie Griffiths and James Benjamin.

The Dragons have not yet replaced influential number eight Ed Jackson, who has retired because of a neck injury, while openside Nic Cudd is out for the season after damaging knee ligaments in the pre-season friendly with Glasgow.

Lewis Evans (Achilles), Harri Keddie (shoulder) and Robson Blake (collarbone) are also currently sidelined and Jackman has given academy prospects a chance in the opening stages of the Guinness PRO14.

Max Williams, 19, featured against Leinster, Edinburgh and Ulster, 18-year-old Lennon Greggains made his debut off the bench in Belfast and Aaron Wainwright was an unused replacement against the Kings.

The head coach is prepared to wait before bolstering his ranks with the intent of bringing in quality rather than just another body.

"I know that some clubs have brought in players from the Premiership on loan, and we have done that with [Bristol centre] Thretton Palamo, but realistically on the market at the moment is other people's discards," said Jackman.

"It's early days and once we get into November and December the pecking order at other clubs will become more clear, then you will have guys that realise they are not high enough up the depth chart to get the game time that they want.

"At the moment any coach worth their salt is giving everyone enough game time to make them believe there is a chance for them to be number one.

"There is not much on the market at the moment but we are always in the market for someone who can add to us, it's just so early in the season that not many clubs are willing to release really good and talented players."

The Dragons attempt to end their lengthy PRO14 away and derby losing streaks at Cardiff Blues on Friday night.

They haven't won on the road in the league since March, 2015 while they have endured two successive whitewashes against their three regional rivals.

The Blues appear to be vulnerable after an indifferent start to the campaign and the news that boss Danny Wilson will not be extending his contract at the end of the season, but Jackman is quick to claim the underdog tag.

"Everybody knew there were issues there over the summer," he said. "Sometimes you can get a reaction to turmoil. Sometimes that chaos actually helps focus the mind internally.

"I am expecting a big performance from them – they are not going to rate us highly. They can't. They are not going to be afraid of us.

"We need to make sure we pitch up and perform. Look at the talent they have. They've got 426 caps in their squad, we have 98.

"They have four times as many caps and if getting capped is a good test of your quality, well then they should beat us by four times the score.

"If you look at their player budget and the amount of caps they have, they will be hot favourites. It's just reality. We are away from home as well."

The Dragons will be without on-loan scrum-half Dane Blacker against his parent club but are hopeful of Charlie Davies countering that blow by returning from a head injury.

Centre/wing Adam Warren (hamstring), wing Jared Rosser (hip), lock Rynard Landman (calf), hooker Gerard Ellis (cheekbone) could be back in the mix for selection.