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Page last updated at 19:38 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:38 UK

Bath centre Olly Barkley targets England recall

Olly Barkley
Olly Barkley's last England game was in New Zealand in June 2008

Bath centre Olly Barkley insists that he has not given up hope on getting back into the England squad.

The 28-year-old has only recently returned to action after seven months out with a broken leg.

But he told BBC Radio Bristol: "I'll keep knocking and, hopefully, if I am playing well, I'll be considered as I still feel my best rugby's ahead of me.

"The stepping stone to England is Bath. They pay my wages and I'm hell bent on getting us into the top four."

Barkley won the first of his 23 England caps against the USA in the summer of 2001 before he had made a senior appearance for Bath. And his last outing came against the All Blacks in New Zealand in June 2008.

But the return of Barkley to Steve Meehan's side, along with that of fly-half Butch James, has coincided with Bath finding their form.

"I really enjoy playing with Butch," said Barkley. "We both have similar mindsets in terms of the way we want to play the game and are very attack-minded."

Bath have now gone seven matches without defeat to quickly go from relegation candidates to play-off hopefuls. And this weekend sees them take on table-toppers Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

"In terms of a message to the league and where we are as a team it's a huge game for the club," added Barkley.

"We're a confident side at the moment and have every right to be. We're playing well and back to the way we love playing that gets the most out of our squad."

Bath are currently sixth in the Premiership just two points off Wasps in fifth and six away from London Irish in fourth.

"It's there for us if we want it," said Barkley. "Luckily our destiny is in our own hands. Two months ago it wasn't."

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