JOSH Lewis has emerged from a "dark place" after working with a sports psychologist to earn back the 10 jersey at the Dragons.

The 26-year-old from Aberdare arrived at Rodney Parade from Bath last summer and played in the first eight games of the season.

However, he suffered a dip in form with his struggles leading to the Dragons bringing in Jason Tovey on permit from Cross Keys.

Lewis was sent to Ebbw Vale, where he had enjoyed two spells that earned professional chances at the Scarlets and Bath, to rediscover his form in the Premiership.

Not only that but the former stonemason worked closely with the region's sports psychologist

The work on and off the field has paid off with Lewis set to make his fourth start on the spin in tomorrow's Guinness PRO14 derby with the Ospreys in Newport (kick-off 3pm).

"I was in a bit of a dark place at the start of the season," he admitted. "But the only way to get out of that is working hard and putting the graft in to gain rewards.

"It was frustration really because I know that I can do it but didn't deliver. I got into a dark place but put the graft in to gain rewards.

"It was a case of working on everything – sitting down in front of the computers and looking at my kicking game and then working with Alan (Kingsley, skills coach) and our sports psychologist, going through the process.

"It was sitting down with him and going through my kicking method and he told me to take a couple of deep breaths and take my time.

"He sat down with me and sorted my head out. It's the first time that I've used a sports psychologist and it was decent to see what they can do for you.

"It's only this year that I've had a few rough kicks – my kicking game has been good for the last couple of seasons – I just had a bit of blip, that's all and every player goes through that.

"It's how you bounce back and using the sports psychologist has worked wonders."

Ups and downs come with the job at fly-half and Lewis knows that he has to stay on top of his game to keep the 10 jersey ahead of Tovey, who backs him up against the Ospreys, and Gavin Henson, who is back in contention after a knee injury.

"There's a friendly competition and nobody wants to lose their spot, I've got another chance and have to take it," said Lewis.

"I've had three starts on the bounce, now have another one and hopefully I can continue from here."

Lewis pulled the strings nicely for the 14-man Dragons in the loss to Cardiff Blues, hitting a peach of a drop goal and judging the wind to perfection to slot a touchline penalty before shushing home fans who had indulged in a spot of sledging.

The hope is that conditions will allow the fly-half to unleash the three-quarters more often at Rodney Parade tomorrow.

"We want to play a good running game and want to go coast to coast," said Lewis.

"The performance at the Blues has given the boys confidence going into the other derbies and we are due a good win."

The Dragons make just one change to the XV with Aaron Jarvis in for suspended tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother with Dan Suter on the bench.

James Benjamin replaces Nic Cudd as back row cover.

Dragons: Z Kirchner, J Rosser, A Warren, J Sage, H Amos, J Lewis, R Williams, R Bevington, E Dee, A Jarvis, B Nansen, M Screech, C Hill (captain), A Wainwright, H Keddie. Replacements: R Hibbard, G Ellis, D Suter, L Evans, J Benjamin, T Knoyle, J Tovey, J Williams.