DRAGONS chief Dean Ryan says he will continue to give his squad the chance to impress him before knowing who “is on the front line” going into the festive derby period.

Ryan is set to go into Friday’s clash against Enisei-STM in Krasnodar with the same approach as last weekend’s clash with Castres, one which is "competitive in the core with opportunities around it”.

That formula helped the Dragons get their European Challenge Cup campaign off to the perfect start courtesy of a 31-17 bonus-point triumph at Rodney Parade.

Their second match in Europe this season sees them make a journey they have become used to in recent years, and a previous defeat in Russia means the Dragons know a very tough test awaits.

“There are five or six lads who haven’t had a chance to show me why they are not in the first team,” said Ryan.

“We tried to pick a squad for the Castres game that was competitive in the core with opportunities around it. We will probably look to do the same in Russia.

“I am focussed on this squad getting better rather than this competition. It’s probably too early for us.

“For this group to get better they need to understand, week to week, we expect to win, irrespective of who is picked and who is playing. That needs to be a pressure that we bring with us.

“I haven’t though too much about the competition. I’ve thought about the fix or six lads who came in and I will think about another five or six who play in Russia.

“After that we have Zebre and then I need to see some of our Test players back involved.

“By the time we get to the third and fourth round of the European competition I will understand this squad a lot more and know who is on the front line going into the derbies.”

Ryan has welcomed World Cup trio Aaron Wainwright, Ross Moriarty and Elliot Dee back into training this week and revealed they will soon get some action for Dragons.

“I have only met our World Cup guys, I haven’t seen them on the pitch,” he added.

“They will come back after the Barbarians game and we need to integrate them back in.

“We will probably get a couple off the bench in round three and some starts in round four.

“We all saw from the World Cup the calibre of those guys so I’m looking forward to then coming back and pushing for places.

“But when you have got some young lads like Taine Basham it gets difficult. Ollie Griffiths has been playing really well for us. That’s quite a back row contest going on.

“By the end of round four I need to know where we are at, what does our best squad look like and then we go into the derbies across Christmas as robust as we can be.”