NEWPORT bid to get the defence of their Welsh Premier Division title back on track with two wins in the next four days - at home to Aberavon tonight and to Llanharan on Saturday.

"We can still challenge for the title. It's not over yet. There is still a long way to go," said Newport coach David Rees.

"We need to get a win under our belts and get back on track. We have been playing poorly but if we play to our full potential we are capable of defeating anyone.

"We owe it to ourselves and to our supporters to put on a good performance and get the ball rolling again against Aberavon."

Newport have been asked by Newport Gwent Dragons to include centre Steve Winn and back row forward Rhys Oakley in order to give them some much needed match practice and they help form a powerful looking team.

Winn's inclusion is opportune as Newport centres Rhys Shorney and Stephen Ireland are both out with 'flu.v Newport: R Williams, G Chapman, S Winn, R Payne, C Thomas, D Griffiths, J Ireland, D Pattison, K Crawford, G Robinson, M Veater, N Edwards, N Kelly, S Waldron, R Oakley. Replacements: T Walsh, W Kershaw-Naylor, S Cronk, A Brown, G Mason, D Davies, R Jones. Kick-off 7.15pm.

Pontypool also include a Dragons player at home to Pontypridd tonight in Ben Breeze. He plays at full back because David Smith has a hamstring injury. Pontypool have strengthened their squad with four new signings in overseas pair Bradley Neho and Duane Luki, former Caerphilly wing Lloyd Williams and former Abertillery and Brynmawr flanker Gavin Donaldson.

However the overseas players have had to return to Australia because their papers were not in order (a problem encountered by Newbridge and the Dragons this season as immigration have tightened up work permit procedures).

"They have received clearance from the Welsh Rugby Union to play for us and have left their gear over here and are expected to return with the right credentials within the week," said Pontypool team manager Gordon Thomas. Thomas added: "We have a series of home games now and a couple of away games we feel we are capable of winning. Three or four wins would put us in a much healthier league position and that is the target."

Pontypool should be capable of defeating Pontypridd, but the Sardis Road side did win at Cross Keys and almost upset unbeaten Neath on Saturday. Pontypool: B Breeze, C Jones, A Sliczney, R Jenkins, M Ali, S Mills, G Jenkins, N Giles/J Viner, L Jones/R Miller, N Blake, M Amos, D Cox, C Trayhern, L Burns, D Gibbs. Replacements from rest of squad. Kick-off 7.15pm.

Cross Keys coach Robert Beale has warned his players to expect a tougher game away to Llanharan tonight than the one against Newport on Saturday. "We were expected to be up for that game and we were," said Beale. "I thought we dominated the game.

"But Llanharan will be up for this one just the same because they will have targeted us as a win game." Cross Keys make eight changes from the side which beat Newport while James Pizey is among the replacements for his first game since a bad knee injury suffered in the Welsh Counties Cup final of May 2003.

They are without experienced back row pair Ben Watkins (hamstring injury) and Rhys Williams (on a teacher training course), though that means another game for young Rhys Peebles who has done well on his appearances to date. "I know changing the team around doesn't suit everyone," said Beale, "but you have to keep faith with and have faith in your players and ours have not let us down."

Cross Keys: D Miles, N Williams, G Turner, D Dark, D Price, O Biddes-combe, G Betts, J Price, G Horrigan, D Evans, D Hudd, M Curtis, R Peebles, W Thomas, T Morris. Replacements: S Mitchell, J Pizey, I George, G Price, D Crimmins, G Taylor, A Cox.

Australian prop Ben Coutts makes his debut for Ebbw Vale at Bridgend while Wales' highest league points scorer, Jason Williams, makes his Premier Division comeback at outside half. Byron Hayward, who passed 2,500 league points against Aberavon on Saturday and is second to Williams in the league scoring stakes, is on the bench. "After tonight we have a number of games we feel we can win," said Vale team manager Alan Harries, "so we want to give all the players a chance to stake a claim to play in those games when we expect to field a more settled team. "Bridgend are a good side, especially at home, but we are going down there with every intention of trying to win."

Ebbw Vale: J Quirk, S Horner, K Owen, D Phillips, J Griffin, J Williams, S Heddington, G Burns, C Thomas, B Coutts, A Jones, R Aylett, R Bowen, M Griffin, P Skillern. Replacements: C Davies, M Williams, C Cleaver, G Jones, R Jones, B Hayward, M Griffiths. Kick-off 7.15pm.

Bedwas are expecting a tough battle from Caerphilly at the Bridge Filed tonight even though their nearest neighbours have yet to pick up a Premier Division point. "Caerphilly coach Mark Ring has gone on record as saying he doesn't mind if his team don't win another game as long as they win both games against us," said Bedwas coach Ian Gardener. "With players like Adam Williams, Mark Workman, Justin Thomas and Paul Jones, all former full or Wales A internationals, in their side they can't be a bad outfit and after the way we played in our last midweek game against Llanharan there will be no complacency in our ranks."

Bedwas: D Jones, S Sankala, J Welch, A Harrison, N Hill, A James, R Phillips, J Tilley, K Jama, J Salter, R Edwards, A Edwards, B Cole, C Hill, D Mattravers. Replacements: G Leonard, P McGhee, M Pettit, L Howells, P Wheeler, S Jones, G Miles. Kick-off 7.15pm.