PITCH improvements at Kingsholm have already begun ahead of the 2008-09 season.
The last game on the old surface was the Barbarians' fixture against Ireland last Tuesday and since then Gloucester's ground staff have been hard at work preparing the stadium before next season.
"The top layer of grass has been removed and additional drainage has been installed to prepare the pitch for the summer re-seeding schedule this summer" said Sean Roberts, Gloucester Rugby's operation manager.
"We will remove around 12mm of turf, fertilize and re-seed over the coming three days and we will see growth across the field over the next 14 days. This will strengthen the pitch by removing the weaker annual meadow grass.
"Additional drainage has also been installed closer to the C&G Grandstand to assist in removing excessive holding water since the pitch moved last season. This again will help keep the surface in better condition over the course of the forthcoming season."
Last season, Gloucester held additional fixtures for the Barbarians, the European Challenge Cup final between Bath and Worcester and two England Under-20 internationals.
"The re-development of the Grandstand has been a major success and meant we have attracted additional games to the fixture list," said stadium manager Dave Balmer.
"That means the surface comes under greater scrutiny and potentially more damage. Although the season has only recently finished the deadlines are pretty tight to ensure we are ready for the start of next season.
"Work has gone well so far and although we are really happy with the surface at Kingsholm, we are always looking for improvements."
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Having named an unchanged starting XV for the past three Aviva Premiership games, Gloucester Rugby ring the changes and retain only five players for Thursday's visit of Stade Rochelais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 7:45pm).