IT’S getting to that stage of the season in the Principality Premiership which former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson would describe as squeaky-bum time, especially for those clubs involved in the battle to avoid relegation to the Championship.

Cross Keys and Bedwas are part of that fight for survival alongside Llanelli, Bridgend, Bargoed and beleaguered Neath, who are all but resigned to dropping out of the top flight following a turbulent campaign on and off the pitch.

With only two points separating Bedwas in the first guaranteed safe spot and two-from-bottom Keys, today’s encounter between the sides at Bridge Field (kick-off 2.30pm) won’t have grave repercussions for the losers in terms of their standing in the table.

However, it would be a big psychological blow to go down to a team who are also scrapping for their lives near the foot of the league.

“Both clubs are rich in Premiership tradition and will be fighting for valuable points that could well determine their future at semi-pro level,” said Bedwas head coach Stefan Sankala.

“I know Keys will have prepared extremely well under Morgan Stoddart and will target this game to kick-start their survival.

“However, I feel we are starting to generate some momentum ourselves, and with some touches of improvement we can be a match for most.

“Our squad and club know the importance of digging deep and I hope we can demonstrate that again.

“It’s all about being positive and that goes for the bar staff, groundsmen, handy-workers, supporters and players.

“We’re in this together and it goes without saying only a win will do.”

Bedwas make two changes to the forward pack that started against Neath last weekend.

With Dale Rogers dropping to the bench, Nathan Hudd moves to number eight and Jonathan Armitage steps up to starts on the openside, while Gareth Allen replaces Jonathan Davies in the second row.

Behind the scrum, Jacob Chilcott starts at outside-half in place of Evan Lloyd and Jordan Rees replaces Ryan Davies on the right wing.

There are a few changes on the bench with a welcome return for winger Kane Teear-Bourge after injury.

Keys were conducting several late fitness checks before naming their matchday squad.

Meanwhile, winger Jon Morris returns to the Newport line-up for today’s trip to Bridgend (kick-off 2.30pm).

Fellow speedster Harri Lang is also back after injury and takes his place among the substitutes.

With Matt O’Brien unavailable, Haydn Simons, as expected, takes over the fly-half duties and Elliot Frewen switches to full-back with Geraint O’Driscoll also missing.

Elsewhere, Bargoed go to Aberavon (kick-off 2.30pm), Neath host Llandovery, RGC 1404 entertain Carmarthen Quins and Merthyr visit Swansea. Llanelli take on Cardiff at Parc y Scarlets tomorrow.

Bargoed (at Aberavon): C Jones; J Bunyan, A Norton, D Humphries, B Nightingale; J Prosser, J Leadbeater; R Morgan (capt), R Buckley, A Gardner-Key, J Locke, L Blacker, L Johnson, C Davies, G Rogers. Reps: M Bancroft, J Purcell, J Mogg, W Langley, A Coupe, A Powell, M Kavanagh, J Lavender.

Bedwas (home to Cross Keys): J Scrivens; J Rees, T Hoppe, C Edwards, A Williams; J Chilcott, L Crane; B Toms, A Rees (capt), R James, G Allen, C Hudd, J Richards, J Armitage, N Hudd. Reps: M Dacey, R Hutcherson, S Cochrane, J Davies, D Rogers, R Harries, D McIntosh, K Teear-Bourge.

Newport (at Bridgend): E Frewen; J Morris, C Smith, T Pascoe, A Evans; H Simons, G Watkin; L Smout, H Palmer, G Harris, A Mann, D Partridge, J Skinner, K Tayler, R Jenkins (capt). Reps: D Preece, E Whitson, T Piper, M Burgess, J Reid, T Lucas, H Lang.