THE Dragons will have a mountain to climb in their bid for the knockout stages of the European Challenge Cup if they fail to upset the odds against Lyon on Friday night but it won't be all over.

Dean Ryan's men suffered a damaging defeat to Perpignan on opening weekend after failing to make the most of a series of opportunities against the Top 14 strugglers.

They did at least grab a consolation bonus at the Stade Aime Giral courtesy of Sam Davies' conversion of Jamie Roberts' try that made it 22-16.

That means it won't be fatal if they suffer a French double on Friday (kick-off 8pm) given that the Challenge Cup is occasionally a battle of who could care less.

The Dragons are in Pool B with Perpignan, Lyon, Gloucester and Benetton with the top three guaranteed to go through to the knockout stages.

The fourth-placed team with the highest points tally out of the three groups will also progress to the last 16 along with three sides from the Champions Cup.

The Dragons travel to Treviso in January and then finish the pool stages when they welcome Gloucester to Rodney Parade on the weekend of April 8.

A home upset against Lyon, who sit fourth in the Top 14 and boast a formidable squad, would do their hopes of qualification the power of good.

Even another consolation bonus would at least set up a pair of must-win encounters with Benetton and Gloucester, who started the campaign with a 19-13 defeat at Lyon and host the Italians in the second round of fixtures.

The Dragons have been poor since returning from the break for the autumn internationals, losing to Edinburgh and Glasgow before the defeat to a poor Perpignan side.

They need to dramatically improve to take the spoils against Lyon, who will be strong even if they rotate the squad after fielding the likes of Lima Sopoaga, Demba Bamba, Romain Taofifenua and Jordan Taufua against Gloucester.

Sam Davies of Dragons and Adam Warren of Dragons look dejected after defeat

Sam Davies of Dragons and Adam Warren of Dragons look dejected after defeat

"As the game went on it got a bit loose and things got away from us," said centre Adam Warren about Perpignan.

"We have to make more of our chances, we had a few opportunities close to their line when they came away with the ball and across the park there were a few knock-ons and errors when we were forcing it a bit.

"That fed Perpignan and when they get on the front foot and offload it's hard to stop.

"We are in a losing rut and need to keep working hard, stay confident as a group and we are chasing that reaction.

"French teams are massive boys. Lyon will be good at the set piece and we can't afford loose play because they have backs that will punish us."