Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has admitted jobs will be on the line over the next few weeks as the capital side try to reverse their dismal form and clock up a run of wins to lift their season.
Bradley's team take on Saracens at Vicarage Road in their final Heineken Cup pool match this afternoon, still without a win and needing to put 12 points on the scoreboard to avoid the humiliation of being the lowest scorers in the competition's history.
"There are decisions on contracts all over the place, my own included," Bradley said. "People will be fighting for that. It's an important time of the year for us."
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Bradley suggested the loss of players such as Mike Blair and Chris Paterson had counted against his side, but stressed others need to take on the mantles of responsibility those individuals previously wore. He said: "Mike Blair can virtually win a game on his own. Chris Paterson was Mr Consistent. When you don't have them, other players have to step up to the plate."
Victory today would see Saracens finish as Pool 1 winners. Munster, currently second, will almost certainly require a bonus-point win against Racing Metro to progress as one of the best runners-up.
Edinburgh's prospects of a consolation win suffered a blow yesterday when it was confirmed that Dave Denton, who suffered a knee injury in last weekend's match against Munster, had been forced to pull out of today's fixture. He will be assessed by the Scotland team doctors at tomorrow's international training session in Glasgow.
In other matches yesterday, Johnnie Beattie's Montpellier claimed a place in the quarter-finals as one of the best runners-up with a 23-3 victory over Pool 6 winners Toulon. Reigning champions Leinster also strengthened their prospects of a place in the last eight by claiming a bonus point in their 29-10 away victory over Exeter Chiefs.
Centres Gordon D'arcy and Brian O'Driscoll, full-back Rob Kearney and No 8 Jamie Heaslip got the vital tries for Leinster against a spirited Chiefs outfit who refused to lie down. However, the Dublin side will have to wait on the results of today's matches between Munster and Racing Metro in Limerick and Leicester and Toulouse at Welford Road, both of which could have a bearing on their qualification chances.