EBBW Vale coach Mike Ruddock has told his side not to undo the good work which put Neath out of the Principality Cup as they face Pontypool for a place in this season's semi-finals.

Vale produced a confident performance to beat Neath 20-10 at the end of February as Ruddock's side strove to defend their proud recent cup record, and now play First Division Pontypool away on Saturday night.

For the past five years, Vale have reached at least the quarter-final stages, twice making the semis and losing 19-12 to Llanelli in the 1998 final held in Bristol when the old Arms Park was being demolished, and Ruddock says their record was a factor in the humbling of Neath.

Ruddock said: "Ebbw Vale have a very good record in the cup and that helped us to pull off the win against Neath. What we have to do is make sure we don't waste that performance at Pontypool.

"We watched their win over Swansea in the previous round on Monday and it reminded the players how strong the Pontypool squad is. We know a lot about them and likewise they know plenty about us."

Of the Pontypool team Mark Jones, Jonathan Hawker, Stephen John and Alan Phillips all played for Ebbw Vale last season while fly-half Byron Hayward was a stalwart of the club and Vale's current captain Chay Billen played at Pontypool as a youngster. The clubs might know a fair bit about each other's personnel, but they have only met twice previoiusly in the cup - in 1974 and 1990.

Both matches were played at Eugene Cross Park, so this will be the first cup match at Pontypool Park, and Pontypool enjoyed the spoils in the previous encounters. Despite trailing 7-0 at half time during the first cup match on January 12, 1974, Pontypool fought back to secure a 18-10 victory with two tries from Chris Bradshaw combined with the kicking of Robin Williams.

The second cup match on January 27, 1990 ended in a 12-9 win for Pooler with all their points coming from the boot of Matthew withfour penalties to Adrian Griffiths' three penalties.

This time around Ebbw Vale's Gareth Cull will be more than a match for the kicking skills of Hayward, so the game promises to be another closely-fought Gwent derby. For the Steelmen, only centre Rhys Shorney and flanker Rhys Williams are doubtful. Shorney has a groin injury that still hasn't healed from the 32-22 defeat by Newport , while promising flanker Williams is carrying a groin strain.

Ruddock clearly has the Wales Under-21 flanker in his plans for next season and the younsgter has impressed, winning plenty of loose ball and making countless tackles on the blindside of the scrum.

As the squad met today, Ockert Booyse has been struggling with flu, but Ruddock and backs coach Kevin Hopkins will finalise the side later this evening.

*PICTURED: Ebbw Vale centre Rhys Shorney is battling to be fit for Saturday.