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Ryan plots April play-off assault

Gloucester flanker Luke Narraway finds no way through the Harlequins defence
Gloucester could not find a way through the Quins defence

Gloucester head coach Dean Ryan remains positive of his team's chances despite seeing their lead at the top of the Guinness Premiership cut to one point.

Ryan's side lost 14-9 at Harlequins, but he is pleased by their progress through a difficult run of fixtures.

He told BBC Radio Gloucestershire: "We are playing the top five in five weeks.

"We've won two and we got a point away at Quins, and if we can get some more points through this period we'll be in a pretty good position to go forward."

Gloucester came into the match at Quins with home wins against London Irish and Sale under their belt.

They return to Kingsholm to entertain west country rivals Bath on Saturday, before a trip to Leicester a week later on 7 March.

As well as the vagaries of the fixture list, Ryan is juggling with what he describes as the worst injury list he has ever faced as a coach and players absent on England duty.

The availability of Mike Tindall, Olly Morgan and Luke Narraway is at the behest of the England management until England play Scotland on 21 March.

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With games against Wasps and Worcester also falling during the Six Nations period, Ryan's aim is to get to the start of April with Gloucester still challenging towards the top of the table.

"The next few weeks are going to be tough for us," he added.

"We've got people going away and that's going to be very difficult as we go through with the amount of injuries we've got.

"But if we can get through this particular period we're just going to get stronger as people come back.

"It's early doors at the moment and we've got a long way to go until the play-offs, but if we can keep ourselves in good shape and not come adrift from it during this difficult time then we should be in better shape as we go forward."

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