Head coach Lyn Jones knows London Welsh face three key Aviva Premiership games
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 19/12/12 6:17pm
Lyn Jones: Knows his side are facing a crucial run of games
London Welsh boss Lyn Jones believes the Christmas period will be crucial to the club's ambition of remaining in the Aviva Premiership.
The Exiles have defied their critics this season, with four wins lifting them to 10th in the standings - seven points ahead of London Irish and 13 clear of bottom club Sale Sharks.
With Worcester (on Friday), London Wasps (December 29) and Harlequins (January 6) coming up over the festive period, Welsh could further strengthen their position.
And following their exertions in the Amlin Challenge Cup over the past two weeks, Jones knows that the return to the Premiership will be key.
"Our focus has to be on the Premiership as it is the qualification for other competitions," Jones told Sky Sports.
"The Amlin Challenge Cup and the LV= Cup have given the chance to some players to stand out and put their hands up, but for me it is now about the Premiership.
"It is a very busy and important period at Christmas. These next three games are vital if you are to solidify your ambitions."
"It is a very busy and important period at Christmas. These next three games are vital if you are to solidify your ambitions.
"You have three weeks then another month off again so it is a crucial time."
London Welsh only secured their place in the top-flight on appeal after they were initially denied entry despite winning the RFU Championship play-off final.
And few gave the club much hope of surviving, especially given all the off-field rumblings - and although the club never doubted, Jones admits the Exiles are in a stronger position than he expected.
"We've done better than we'd hoped to be honest," he said. "We always knew it was going to be hard at times but then we beat Exeter and that result has really set us off.
"We didn't expect it but it has given us the momentum and confidence from which to build on. There is still a long way to go, though."
First up for Welsh will be Worcester at Sixways on Friday - with the Warriors, who won the Championship play-off in 2011, just a point ahead in the standings.
"Worcester are a similar side to us," added Jones. "They came up two years ago and have set a good example of how to survive in the Premiership and how to grow from there. It will be a big challenge for us."