Glasgow Caledonian Reds coach Richie Dixon claimed yesterday to be keeping the pressure on his squad ahead of Sunday's meeting with English champions Leicesterin the Heineken Cup, but one of them in particular was having none of it.

Winger Shaun Longstaff seems certain to be in the side when it is announced tomorrow, having directly replaced fellow internationalist James Craig in the squad. However, simply knowing that he will be in the right country when the game kicks off means he is under much less stress than at the same time a week earlier.

''Last weekend was extremely frustrating,'' said Longstaff, who was due to join his team-mates late in time to face Pontypridd but missed the match after the plane on which he was travelling had to turn back last Saturday morning.

''I kept flicking through teletext and hoping that they would turn things around. It was dreadful and I'm sure it was a little bit unsettling for the team, hearing that one of the players isn't going to be there. I consider myself a big team man so I hated not being there.''

Longstaff had felt particularly ready to contribute, having apparently timed his return to fitness perfectly for that European Cup opener in Wales. ''The momentum was just beginning to roll after playing against Ebbw Vale and Cardiff in the league,'' he noted.

Yet any irritation he did feel was mitigated by spending extra time with new daughter Molly, whose birth nine days ago was the cause of his late departure from Scotland, and Longstaff admits her arrival has itself been something of a relief.

''If anything, I am a bit more relaxed than before, because Jenny was two weeks overdue when she had Molly, so it had been a bit tense,'' he says of his wait to get involved over the past few days.

Having extra time to prepare for Europe has also provided a further opportunity for Longstaff to sharpen up for Leicester's visit to Scotland.

''I had to perform on Monday night in the development game in Newcastle and played the full 80 minutes, and when things did come my way I seemed to do the right things, so I just can't wait to play again,'' said the winger.

There is, he admits, an extra incentive. ''My wife Jenny said before I headed off last weekend to make sure there was a try for Molly and she'll probably say the same thing again,'' he said.

Not that Longstaff is by any means alone in seeking to make a first telling impact on this season's European Cup, as his coach was blunt in pointing out.

Dixon stated categorically that Craig - who had a poor game in Pontypridd - had recovered from the knock he had been carrying this week and had been dropped.

He also claimed he was not naming his starting line-up to try to maximise the pressure on those in the side.

That said, with only one other enforced change to the 22 on duty in Wales - Fraser Stott replacing injured Scotland captain Andy Nicol - his reticence seemed more designed to avoid offering any advantage to the opposition, Leicester's director of rugby, Dean Richards, having indicated that he is unlikely to name their side until tomorrow at the earliest.

Dixon is aware that, regardless of when he tells his men whether or not they are playing, they are very much the ones who cannot afford to lose this weekend, Leicester having secured a home win over French side Pau last Saturday.

''In the context of the Heineken Cup teams like Gloucester and Saracens, who did manage to win away from home have put themselves in good positions in their leagues,'' Dixon acknowledged.

''As we have seen last year and every season, the onus is on every team to try to get that away win.

''Leicester will be travelling here with the same expectation as we took to Pontypridd a week ago.

''We obviously let ourselves down, but they know that if they can sneak an away win it gives them a better chance.

''Losing this one would put us under the kind of pressure you don't want. This is a very big game and it can make or break us in the Heineken Cup.''

The Reds have been boosted by the news that winger Rory Kerr, sidelined since the beginning of last season after knee surgery, has finally been given the all clear to start playing again. After all that time, however, his return may be delayed because he is affiliated to West of Scotland and with clubs only permitted to field two Reds or Reivers professionals, they already have Iain McInroy and Barry Irving playing for them regularly.

In the other Scotland v England confrontation, at Franklin's Gardens tomorrow, Edinburgh Reivers can all but end Northampton's defence of the trophy.

Reivers will name their side today and optimism is increasing over the condition of prop Allan Jacobsen, who has made a remarkable recovery from what had been assessed immediately after last week's win over Leinster as a worrying calf injury.

''He trained today and things are looking pretty good, but we will have to wait so see if there is a reaction before being sure,'' said Reivers manager Ian Rankin.

Northampton, meanwhile, have named a squad containing only 21 players, inviting speculation that they could be leaving room for their talismanic scrum-half, Matt Dawson, to return, although that is apparently extremely unlikely.

Dawson's regular half-back partner of recent years, Paul Grayson, is ready to return to their side, but Scotland hooker Steve Brotherstone has yet to prove his fitness for the tie.

Glasgow Caledonian Reds squad v Leicester at McDiarmid Park on Sunday:

Backs - R Shepherd, G Metcalfe, A Bulloch, I Jardine, J Steel, S Longstaff, T Hayes, M McKenzie, G Beveridge, F Stott.

Forwards - D Hilton, A Watt, G Bulloch, G Scott, G McIlwham, S Campbell, S Griffiths, J White, M Waite, J Petrie, R Reid, G Simpson.

Northampton squad v Edinburgh Reivers at Franklin's Gardens tomorrow:

Backs - D Malone, J Bramhall, A Hepher, I Vass, S Webster, B Cohen, L Martin, M Allen, A Bateman, P Grayson.

Forwards - G Pagel, S Brotherstone, M Stewart, K Todd, S Thompson, A Newman, O Brouzet, R Hunter, T Rodber, B Pountney P Lam.