Glasgow Caledonians face Ebbw Vale tonight at Hughenden (kick-off 7pm) knowing that a good result will maintain the momentum the Reds have built up over the last two weeks with wins against Neath and Edinburgh Reivers.

However, coach Richie Dixon believes that, despite the recent upsurge in form, his side is still not operating at maximum efficiency.

''We have to lift our game from week to week. We've reached the stage now that when we're ahead we have got to keep our foot on the pedal and not slacken off the effort.

''That means making it count when we have the ball in our possession,'' suggested Dixon, buoyed by the fact that he has a much bigger complement of players from which to choose. ''There's now healthy competition for places.

''To play for the Reds guys have to maintain a high standard.

''Every player, though, will be given a chance and they have to take it when the have the opportunity'' said the Reds coach.

Among those coming back into the frame is Scotland winger Shaun Longstaff, who returns to the side having been out of action with a rib injury since the Reds' pre-season match against Northampton at Franklin's Gardens.

Longstaff comes in on the right wing for Jon Steel, who was not considered because of a hamstring strain. ''Jon had done enough to deserve his place but unfortunately he sustained this injury,'' commented Dixon.

The Reds coach will have the luxury of playing Glenn Metcalfe at some stage in the match, the New Zealander having finally shaken off the effects of an ankle injury sustained in the opening game of Scotland's tour this summer.

The third returning capped player is Stewart Campbell, who, like Metcalfe, will start on the bench.

The other change is at centre where Jon Stuart, having dislocated a shoulder in the tri-series match last weekend, is replaced by Ian Jardine, whose centre partner, Alan Bulloch, will be making his fiftieth appearance for the Reds tonight.

Ebbw Vale, who will be travelling to Glasgow by air today , will want to use tonight's match for rehabilitation purposes. Vale lost heavily to Bridgend last weekend following their 56-24 defeat by Newport seven days earlier.

''We're struggling for form right now and it's not helping that we have injury problems'' admitted the Ebbw Vale coach Mike Ruddock, tipped by many to succeed Graham Henry in the Wales coaching job. ''It's these few basic mistakes that are costing us dear,'' he added.

Ruddock expects his Ebbw Vale team to face a Reds side full of confidence.

''Glasgow Caledonians had a good win over Edinburgh Reivers last weekend and they beat Neath the week before,'' he said.

This will be Ebbw Vale's second (and final) trip to Scotland this season, the previous visit having resulted in a narrow defeat by Edinburgh Reivers at Myreside four weeks ago. Then, winger Andrew Wagstaff scored a hat trick of tries for Vale. Sadly for the Welsh club Wagstaff is injured but in his replacement, Alun Harries, Vale have an experienced player.

Vale will be strong in midfield where inside centre Jonathan Hawker, who played for Wales A last season, is returning to form, after a quiet start to the Welsh/Scottish league. Vale's other key players will be stand-off Jason Strange, a Wales A cap, and No.8 Mark Jones who, if he can stay on the right side of the law, poses a genuine threat.

Ruddock, however, knowing that home advantage is proving to be such a huge factor in the Welsh/Scottish league, appreciates that his side have a big task on their hands tonight.

''Form indicates that we're the underdogs for this game,'' he suggested.

Glasgow Caledonians - R Shepherd; S Longstaff, A Bulloch, I Jardine, J Craig; M McKenzie, G Beveridge; D Hilton, G Bulloch, G McIlwham, S Griffiths, J White, R Reid,J Petrie, G Simpson. Replacements: G Scott, W Anderson, S Campbell, M Waite, C Black, T Hayes, G Metcalfe.

Ebbw Vale - R Potter; R Shorney, P Mathews, J Hawker, A Harries; J Strange, G Betts; I Thomas, B Morris, D Pensini, C Billen, N Edwards, D Jones, M Jones, G Green. Replacements A Phillips, A Peacock, L Banks, A Rogers, M Taylor, S Connor, C Landry.