GLOUCESTER'S head coach Dean Ryan has backed his brigade of youngsters cutting their teeth in the Premiership and believes the 'green shoots' of development shown this season will only benefit the club in the long-term.
The Kingsholm coach is confident the future of the club is bright - despite a difficult month that has been disrupted through injury and international call-ups.
But the likes of Luke Narraway, Jack Forster, Rob Elloway, Jonathan Pendlebury and Nick Wood have all produced performances that have shown a great deal of maturity and skill and Ryan believes they will only get better.
"We have still got injuries to people in key positions and that is something we are going to have to manage," Ryan said. "But in the last few weeks I think we have seen massive green shoots of dividend with regard to the future of the club and that will benefit us next year.
"I think it will take about 12 or 14 months to see these guys really come through in the Premiership but I have been very impressed with what these young guys have done for us now.
"We are starting to get the best out of that young group and it's very encouraging. They are pushing for regular places and that is what we want to try and achieve.
"You only have to look at somebody like Anthony Allen - he was close to being one of our first choice centres before England Under-21 commitments took over - and that is the sort of environment we want to achieve.
"Some of these guys have had little exposure to the Guinness Premiership but they will only get better over the long term.
"I was really impressed with the effort and commitment shown at Northampton and the only thing they were missing was the victory to go with it. The future of the club is bright and we want to continue to help it grow."
Gloucester face Bristol on Saturday and Ryan has yet to finalise his line-up. But he is expected to welcome back Mefin Davies and Mike Tindall from international duty and James Simpson-Daniel and Alex Brown from illness and injury respectively.
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.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.