CROSS Keys head coach Morgan Stoddart has played down his side’s chances of beating fellow Principality Premiership relegation candidates Bedwas at Bridge Field tomorrow (kick-off 2.30pm).

Both Gwent clubs are desperate for points as they bid to avoid the drop and this weekend’s meeting is one of the biggest between the two in living memory.

The magnitude of the fixture isn’t lost on Stoddart or Bedwas counterpart Stefan Sankala, and the two sets of fans will be more than aware of how important a win for their side could be.

Bedwas moved above Keys in the table last weekend after a bonus-point victory over Neath, while Stoddart’s charges were edged out by Swansea and fell back into the danger zone.

The Premiership’s bottom four will be relegated at the end of the season, with a play-off against the winners of the Championship deciding the fate of the team in 12th place.

For now, Bedwas are safe in 11th, but only two points separate them, Llanelli, Bridgend and Keys, the three sides directly below Sankala’s troops.

Speaking about tomorrow’s hugely important game, Stoddart said: “If I’m honest, with how results have gone this season I’m definitely not confident in beating Bedwas.

“If we play well, I think we’ve got a really good chance of winning, but it all depends on how it goes on the day.

“If we play like we did against Ebbw Vale, we’ve got no chance, but if we play like we did against Cardiff and Swansea, we have got a chance. Both teams realise how important this game is.”

He added: “The game earlier in the season (Bedwas won 44-34 at Pandy Park) was relatively close.

“We could have won but they came back and scored a couple of tries late on. The two teams are quite similar.

"We’ve had ups and downs and lost lots of players at the end of last season, and both teams have gone through a re-building process.”

Sankala, meanwhile, wasn’t overly impressed with Bedwas’ display in beating Neath 36-28 last time out.

And he knows his side will have to improve if they want to secure back-to-back league wins for only the second time this campaign.

“There were far too many errors and Cross Keys could punish us if we make those same mistakes this weekend,” he said.

“On paper, Keys have got a stronger squad than Neath and, like us, are desperate for points, and it’s almost like playing for double points when you go up against teams around you.

“We have built some momentum in the last few weeks, even if results have gone against us.

“We were riddled with injuries in November, December and January, but since then we’ve had players coming back and more consistency in selection and on the pitch.”