Gloucester Rugby Club received a massive boost ahead of Friday night's Heineken Cup clash away at Ulster with the news that Phil Vickery has signed a contract extension that will see the 28 year-old prop stay at the Kingsholm club until the end of the 2006/07 season.
The England and Lions international had two seasons to run on his current four-year contract, and the new package has added an extra year.
Vickery, who has made more than 120 appearances for the Kingsholm club, returned to first team duties on Sunday with a full 80 minutes after missing the last six weeks with a blow-out fracture around the eye area.
Commenting on http://www.gloucesterrugbyclub.com/ director of rugby Nigel Melville said: "It was great to have Vicks back involved on Sunday. He brings massive experience and leadership to the squad, and the new contract means he'll be part of the set-up here as we continue to develop.
"I believe that we've still to see the best of him. I said last week I'd never seen him train so hard as he has done, and that's great news for both Phil and us.
"He's got some great years ahead of him and we're pleased that those will be spent here at Kingsholm."
Vickery, who made his debut for Gloucester in the 1996/97 season, added: "I'm pleased my future is at Kingsholm. It's been a mixed season so far what with injuries and team results, but I want to be part of where this club is going, and it's now the start of a mission for us.
"We know how important Friday's game is, and that is followed by a Powergen Cup quarter-final and then key Premiership games. We know what we've got to do in the next few months."
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.