Bath lock Dave Attwood talks to Sky Sports rugby union writer Tony Curtis about the importance of beating Gloucester
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC
Last Updated: 27/02/13 2:25pm
Having completed a West Country hat-trick of playing for clubs in the area, Attwood has first-hand experience of the game from all perspectives.
Attwood began his career at his hometown club Bristol before going on to make 31 Premiership appearances for Gloucester.
The 25-year-old, though, has been plying his trade in the Bath engine room since 2011 - and he is reminded of the need to put one over their local rivals when he steps out for a paper, a coffee or the post.
"It is one of the most exciting games of the year for me," Attwood told Sky Sports.
"I know a lot of the players, coaches and back-room staff from my time at Gloucester, so it will be nice to see some familiar faces.
"I am more aware of the importance of the game given the interest from neighbours, the milkman, the man in the paper shop, the man in the coffee shop... They are all talking about it.
"It was the same when I was in Gloucester with people asking about the game all the time when you would go out for a coffee. It does mean so much.
"But I've been around this part of the world my entire rugby career so I am well versed in this game."
Attwood, who has won two England caps, believes that there will be extra spice for Friday night's fixture after Bath thumped the Cherry and Whites 32-5 in the LV= Cup.
"We've already played them twice and it is currently one win apiece," he said. "They beat us in the Premiership and we won last time in the LV Cup.
"The LV was a dead rubber for them, though, so it will be a different team on Friday night, with the likes of Jim Hamilton, Billy Twelvetrees, Ben Morgan and Freddie Burns all back from international duty.
"They have some tremendous talent in their squad so I am expecting a phenomenal side to turn up.
"They will be smarting at that loss in the LV and they will want to come out all guns blazing so we will have to try to keep them out."
While local bragging rights will be the natural motivation for both sides, Bath have their sights set on gatecrashing the play-off places.
Bath are currently seven points adrift of fourth-placed Gloucester, while they will also tackle Harlequins, Leicester and Saracens in the final weeks of the season.
"If you look at the wider implications then they are where we want to be so a win would see us heading in the right direction," added Attwood. "If we can get in to the top six we can then look at pushing on.
"We are looking at our fixtures as a positive. There is no point us beating the sides at the bottom if Leicester and that are doing the same. We want to be taking points off the sides in the top six.
"We know that it is a difficult run of games but that could work in our favour. Provided we win then will put ourselves in a great position and when it comes to the play-offs it is knockout rugby, so anything could happen."