"YOU don't give up on anything in my language. We'll keep going." Life is anything but easy for Duncan Hodge.

Hodge is battling for results to make the case for staying put as Edinburgh head coach while rumours swirl of a shortlist of people gunning for his role – but he is staying defiant.

He says is far to busy trying to sort out the short-term issues, including trying to put together a team that can win against Leinster tonight, to consider what he might do if the job goes to somebody else.

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The challenge tonight is among the toughest facing the side over the remainder of the season until they reach the climax facing Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun.

True, they still have to play the Ospreys, but that is at home while they face Leinster, with a number of key players back from the Ireland squad, in Dublin.

"Week-in and week-out we are just trying to talk about performance," said Hodge. "The past two weeks have been frustrating because we’ve got very, very close to two very good sides, but have not got over the line.

"We have another opportunity and then we’ve got two home games. The big games just keep rolling in."

It is not as though he does not have other issues. The front row problems after Alasdair Dickinson and WP Nel went down injured have been well documented and, with Simon Berghan among the players retained by the Scotland camp after winning his first cap against France, they are struggling.

Now there are back row issues as well, made worse by John Hardie's concussion while Hamish Watson is another held back by Scotland. With other injuries, Jamie Ritchie, Cornell de Preez and Magnus Bradbury are the only three still standing and the bench place goes to an extra lock.

It has also been tricky for Hodge to work out what to do with players like Grant Gilchrist who has been with the national squad despite struggling for form with the club.

He came back late in the week, and Hodge saw no benefit in slotting one of his joint captains straight into the team at such short notice.

"Gilco [Gilchrist] will get a good shot," Hodge promised. "He played a lot earlier in the season but, by his own admission, didn’t play quite as well as he would have wanted. We are looking at a few things for him to improve to get back to his best.

"It’s not the easiest just now with guys going away and coming back from the national camp, but we’re looking for him to do well. He just needs time."

The problem for Hodge is that it is his experienced players who are dropping out. It is not just Gilchrist but Stuart McInally, who shares the captaincy, is injured while Ross Ford is with Scotland.

It all means that players like Tom Brown are having to step up into the decision-making roles. He has, by far, the most playing experience of any of the outside backs with 104 games, ahead of Glen Bryce with 32, Damien Hoyland with 39 and Chris Dean with 33.

"Some would say that 26 is not old, but I do feel that I am making the transition into being a senior player," he said. "I think for me on the wing it is difficult to influence the key decision-makers at nine and 10, so I focus on the back three. I enjoy working with Damien and Blair [Kinghorn, who is on the bench]. I feel that senior role, but I focus on guys around me."

Which is one reason the club was anxious to keep him on board and was happy to offer him a contract extension.

"For me, it was about Edinburgh. This is the club I wanted to stay at. To be honest, I did not look elsewhere. It was all down to Edinburgh. This is home for me and it is always an absolute honour to pull on the jersey," he explained.

"It was an easy decision. We are making some good signings for next season [such as Mark Bennett, who is moving from Glasgow Warriors]. I have seen the way Bennett plays and it will be exciting. He will fit into our backline and they way we want to play. It is now about achieving something, getting to finals and not just going through the motions."

Which is going to be tough this season. The Guinness PRO12 play offs are out of the question and even finishing in the top six to qualify for next season's European Champions Cup looks next to impossible – with eight games left, Ulster are 18 points ahead in sixth place with a game in hand; Glasgow, in fifth, are 21 points ahead.

Leinster: Z Kirchner; D Kearney, R O'Loughlin, N Reid, B Daly; J Carbery, L McGrath (C); P Dooley, J Tracy, M Ross, R Molony, M McCarthy, D Ryan, J van der Flier, J Conan. Replacements: B Byrne, A Porter, M Bent, M Kearney, D Leavy, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, A Byrne.

Edinburgh: G Bryce; D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh, T Brown; D Weir, S Hidalgo-Clyne; J Cosgrove, N Cochrane (C), M McCallum, F McKenzie, B Toolis, M Bradbury, J Ritchie, C Du Preez. Replacements: G Turner, D Appiah, N Beavon, G Gilchrist, L Carmichael, N Fowles, J Tovey, B Kinghorn.