THE Dragons have one last chance for a victory in another demoralising season but the little wins have to keep coming this summer.

It would be fair to call 2018/19 a disastrous campaign, even though the Rodney Parade region have won more games than last season and ended a four-year derby drought with a thrilling festive win against the Ospreys.

Expectations were rightly much higher last September and failure to live up to them cost Bernard Jackman his job.

The former Ireland hooker’s three-year plan was terminated and, after making some initial progress under caretaker boss Ceri Jones the season, has drifted.

Much-needed clarity over the new head coach will be provided very soon and the chosen man will have a huge task on his hands; they will be charged with trying to retain the talent that is on the books and bring in some added quality, all with a meagre budget.

Jackman’s successor will take the helm with their eyes wide open about the job ahead and, as I have written before, they should avoid hyperbole about Gwent being a sleeping giant.

That will only risk infuriating supporters, many of whom are already miffed about a lack of progress and the gap to the best teams becoming a chasm.

There has long been a drift of faithful supporters away from Rodney Parade and the danger is that the loss of regulars will not only continue but increase – their patience has been tested for too long.

Many are pondering what to do next season and an appealing option is to play the waiting game, to make a call on their commitment come September.

With a complete absence of sell-outs, picking and choosing games has its merits… but that’s not good for the Dragons’ coffers.

They need season ticket holders to renew, so need to show intent over the coming weeks and months.

There has already been one big loss with the confirmation that Hallam Amos will be heading to the Arms Park rather than Rodney Parade after his World Cup commitments.

It is an understandable move for the Wales wing/full-back, who has been a terrific servant to the Dragons, but that doesn’t make it any less painful.

Thankfully the loss of Amos wasn’t followed by Ashton Hewitt heading for the exit.

The Dragons have badly missed the injured winger this season, both for his fast feet and leadership, and getting him to agree to a contract extension was essential.

Similarly, a fresh deal for Adam Warren, their most dependable three-quarter and a huge success story since joining from the Scarlets in 2015, was vital.

Job done, as it has been with contract extensions for influential forwards Lewis Evans and Matthew Screech.

More new deals will be announced in the coming weeks, prompting sighs of relief if not the wild celebrations that would follow a major signing coup.

A key figure in that is James Chapron, who is a shrewd appointment as rugby general manager after previously being academy boss.

Taking some of the more ‘adminny’ strain off the head coach has been needed for a while and Chapron has plenty of rugby savviness.

Getting the most out of a small budget is challenging and there will be nowhere near the upheaval of last summer, when Jackman brought in a glut of players.

However, providing little bits of good news is essential to keep the interest of supporters who are teetering on the edge.

South Wales Argus: FRUSTRATED: Gareth Davies lashed out at the Dragons after Judgement Day last yearFRUSTRATED: Gareth Davies lashed out at the Dragons after Judgement Day last year

IF Gareth Davies leaves the field at Principality Stadium with a frown on Saturday then the Dragons will have achieved one of their missions.

Last season the Scarlets scrum-half was rather grumpy after a five-try, 33-8 success when the teams met at Judgement Day.

The then champions led just 7-3 at the break and the Wales half-back wasn’t in the mood for toasting victory.

“To be honest, we were a bit disappointed we conceded eight points against them," he said.

"We left a lot of tries out there. It could have been a 40 to 50-pointer to nil and we are disappointed that wasn't the case.”

"Every time we play against the Dragons they seem to bring us down to their level of rugby, which is very average in my opinion,” he continued.

“The Dragons are not up to much are there? Like I said, they brought us down to their standard of rugby, which is very frustrating for us.”

His words – harsh but fair? – led to his boss Wayne Pivac ordering an apology but the Dragons must annoy and frustrate once again this week.

Being obdurate should not be considered an insult to the Rodney Parade region, after all in 15 league defeats this season only five times have their conquerors not earned bonuses.

The derby displays have been dramatically better this season with losses against Cardiff Blues that could have been wins, a success against the Ospreys in Newport and a battling effort in Swansea.

The Dragons looked a tired team in Llanelli in January but limited the Scarlets to two tries and need more of the same.

It’d be great to see them fire a few shots in front of a bumper crowd but scoring some nice tries in a one-sided contest would be a disaster.

Rolling over would be no good for their standing in the league, both in terms of reputation and placing at the bottom of Conference B.