EBBW Vale head coach Jason Strange says his players have had more than enough time to get over the disappointment of losing at Pontypool and can't wait to get stuck into another classic Gwent derby in the Indigo Premiership this weekend.

The Steelmen head to Newport Stadium to tackle the Black and Ambers in a fixture that could see the home side take over at the top of the table from reigning champions Llandovery.

The task awaiting Strange's men is to stay in touch with the top three to further push their title credentials.

"It wasn't ideal having a weekend off after the defeat at Pontypool Park. The players just wanted to get back out there to try to put right the wrongs from that defeat," said Strange.

"We felt we were in control of the game for 70 minutes, but then lost out grip. We beat ourselves.

"Pontypool played well, and it was a great atmosphere, but it was an uncharacteristic performance from us. We were off it in almost every department.

"In games like that you have to get your fundamentals right. Out set-piece malfunctioned and there were individual that went on top of that.

"There is no panic. Whenever this team has had a set-back they have responded very well because of the high standards they set themselves."

Ebbw will welcome back hooker Joe Franchi after he finally recovered from an injury picked up in the opening game of the season but will be without powerhouse No 8 Ryan Jenkins.

Newport will have to do without Matt O'Brien in their back division because of his duties with the Dragons but are in high spirits after five wins on the spin, the latest a 26-15 triumph at Cardiff.

“It is another Gwent derby and another big game. It’s great seeing the three Gwent clubs in the top four and you whoever ends up top of the three clubs will be strong contenders for the title,” said Newport team manager Mark Workman.

“We know what to expect from Ebbw Vale, who beat us twice last season. They are going to come after us at the set-piece and we must be ready for that.”

Pontypool suffered only their second defeat of the season at the home of the champions, Llandovery, last weekend and will have home comforts on Saturday when they welcome the other team promoted with them to the top tier last season, Neath.

“I don’t think it was one of our better performances at Llandovery, and there were certainly areas in which we were second best,” admitted head coach Leighton Jones.

“Llandovery took the points when they were on offer and that showed there was respect from them. There are areas of our game we need to look at.

“We’ve talked about how tight we are as a group over the last few weeks, but you’re only as tight as how you bounce back from a loss, so we will look forward to Neath this weekend.”

Premiership: Aberavon v Pontypridd, Bridgend v RGC, Carmarthen Quins v Merthyr, Newport v Ebbw Vale, Pontypool v Neath, Swansea v Cardiff.

Championship East: Cardiff Met v St Peters, Cross Keys v Penallta, Newbridge v Bargoed, Treorchy v Bedwas, Ystrad Rhondda v Glamorgan Wanderers.