Connacht coach Michael Bradley is banking on home advantage paying dividends in the Round 3 showdown under the Galway Sportsground floodlights.
Connacht Rugby clash with Newcastle Falcons in Pool 3 of the European Challenge Cup on Friday night with coach Michael Bradley banking on home advantage paying dividends in the Round 3 showdown under the Galway Sportsground floodlights.
No-one has played more tournament matches than Connacht - this will be match No 68 - and they have qualified for the knock-out stages in four of the last five campaigns.
"If we are going to progress we have to get some sort of return from these back-to-back matches with the Falcons and, obviously as your home match is the best chance of doing that, we have earmarked this one as a win for ourselves," he said.
"However, they have clearly set their stall out and see winning the tournament as a direct route into next season's Heineken Cup. They have made a good start but our win over Glasgow Warriors at the weekend will boost our confidence.
"We know the Falcons reasonably well - we played them in a pre-season friendly when Jonny (Wilkinson) was making a comeback from injury and it was in front of a near sell-out crowd - and then we played them in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals two seasons ago when Toby Flood really came to the fore in a 23-3 win for them.
"Yes they have got a host of big names - including all Blacks prop Carl Hayman who has now arrived at Newcastle - but we are used to playing against sides with the big name players and it doesn't worry us.
"But overall there is some really serious talent in this tournament.
"Recent winners of the European Challenge Cup give you a clear indication of the high quality teams taking part - a roll of honour that includes ASM Clermont Auvergne, Gloucester Rugby, Sale Sharks, Harlequins and London Wasps says it all.
"However, while I honestly believe we are more competitive this year we have to finish teams off when we get those opportunities.
"We have the ability to win matches and the confidence to close out games - it is just the execution that is letting us down. We believe we can win any game if we apply ourselves."
The 10-6 victory over Glasgow moved Connacht off the bottom of the Magners League and now they are turning their focus on Europe.
"It was important to get the victory but perhaps what was more important was the standard of the performance, often in very trying conditions," said Bradley following the wind and rain lashed encounter.
"We understand that the season ahead is very difficult and the teams we're going to be playing against will, in nearly all cases, be favourites against us. But, if we perform like that, we'll be very difficult to break down and we should get our fair share of victories."