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Bath target return for Butch James and Olly Barkley

Olly Barkley and Butch James
Neither Barkley(l) or James have featured for Bath this season

Bath head coach Steve Meehan says he expects to have backs Butch James and Olly Barkley available for the first weekend in February.

South African fly-half James, 31, has been out of action since April 2008 with a cruciate knee injury.

Barkley, 28, has yet to play for Bath since returning from Gloucester last year after breaking his leg pre-season.

"James and Barkley will be available for selection for the LV match here against Sale," Meehan told BBC Bristol.

"Certainly when they return it will deepen our squad and make the competition for spots greater," he added.

"And hopefully as a result of that everyone trains with a little more zip and knows they've got to perform each and every week."

It would be nice to see the guys cross the white line and score a few more tries but that's been the nature of the rugby and it doesn't mean we're not trying

Steve Meehan

Bath have struggled this season managing only five wins in all competitions but have won their last two matches against Gloucester and Leeds in the Premiership.

"It's been a tricky season and we could be accused of trying to change things too often in the early stages looking for some solutions," said Meehan.

"But against Gloucester it was a very controlled performance and a game I never thought we would lose.

"And against Leeds we were up against a side that were emotionally charged up and we had to scrap for that game.

"It would be nice to see the guys cross the white line and score a few more tries but that's been the nature of the rugby and it doesn't mean we're not trying."

Bath's next fixture on Saturday in the Heineken Cup sees Steve Meehan return to Stade Francais for the first time since leaving the Paris-based side for the Rec in 2006.



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