BERNARD Jackman is confident that the Dragons' campaign won't just drift until an upturn in fortunes next season despite enduring a losing finish to a chastening 2017.

The Rodney Parade region signed off the year with a trio of home defeats to Newcastle in the European Challenge Cup and Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys in Guinness PRO14 derbies.

The calendar year featured just seven wins from 33 games in all competitions and the Dragons sit sixth in Conference B of the league with just Southern Kings beneath them.

They started the season with a small squad and are currently hindered by a lengthy injury list that features likely starters Zane Kirchner, Hallam Amos, Tyler Morgan, Brok Harris, Leon Brown, Lewis Evans and Ollie Griffiths.

The Dragons have made high-profile signings for next season in Lions duo Richard Hibbard and Ross Moriarty while Jackman has also secured the services of Bristol duo Rhodri Williams and Jordan Williams.

That means there is promise for 2018/19 but the head coach isn't wishing away the next four months until the season finale against the Scarlets at Principality Stadium.

"We are going to have to set goals week to week. There is always something to play for – contracts, pecking order, game time," said the head coach, whose side face the champions in Llanelli on Friday.

"Dan Babos and Arwel Robson will learn a lot from that [game against the Ospreys]. Jarryd Sage made his debut and it was a big change from the Southern Kings and Golden Lions to a wet and windy night in Newport.

"We like what we see from him in training while Calvin Wellington will hopefully play in January, so we've got lots of new bodies coming in.

"The squad has got decent character, we just need to tidy up certain areas and get a bit more power and size."

It was that lack of power that saw the Dragons comprehensively beaten by a more streetwise Ospreys side in awful conditions on Sunday.

Tries by hooker Scott Baldwin, wing Cory Allen and full-back Sam Davies earned a 22-9 win for the Liberty Stadium side, stretching the Dragons' PRO14 derby drought to 19 games.

"When the rain came it made our job even harder because we want to play a style of rugby where we can go wide, conditions meant that was harder to do," said Jackman.

"It then became about power and we are probably not the most powerful team in the world, and when you take Leon Brown, Brok Harris, Ollie Griffiths, Tyler Morgan, Hallam Amos, Zane Kirchner out, we were very young and very light.

"I thought the boys put in big shift and we had more physicality and endeavour than we did against the Blues, but the Ospreys are probably a better side and had more individuals who have played international rugby and a huge amount of regional rugby.

"We certainly want to bring in bigger, stronger, more powerful athletes who can play the game in the dry and the wet.

"We had a very young back row who did well against prestigious opponents, but when they are bringing Alun Wyn Jones and Paul James off the bench, that just shows the difference in budget and squad depth."

The Dragons are hopeful of getting full-back Kirchner, centre Morgan and back row forwards Harrison Keddie and Lewis Evans back in January.