Bristol boss Mark Tainton wants to harness European form against Worcester
Bristol head coach Mark Tainton is targeting a first Aviva Premiership win against fellow strugglers Worcester on Boxing Day after European competition brought an upturn in fortunes.
The Premiership's bottom club beat Pau home and away to keep their Challenge Cup hopes alive and provide a significant morale boost ahead of a defining set of domestic fixtures.
Bristol's next two games are against Worcester and Sale - the two teams directly above them in the table - and offer a possible road to salvation after 10 straight league defeats.
"The way we have performed over the past two weeks in the European Challenge Cup has been very encouraging, but the impetus is now on the players to translate those performances into the league," Tainton told the club's official website.
"My message to the players is to go out there and not take a backwards step; play with pride and the same freedom that has seen us make significant strides in our game."
Samoan centre Tusi Pisi returns to the backline for the first time since early-October following a groin problem.
Dan Tuohy, Olly Robinson and Nick Fenton-Wells come into the pack, with s kipper Jordan Crane (knee) and Jonathan Fisher (head) unavailable for the Ashton Gate clash.
Worcester are six points better off than Bristol and also make four changes from their last Premiership outing.
England centre Ben Te'o is fit for the first time since October, while Dean Hammond, Michael Dowsett and Christian Scotland-Williamson also feature.
"We need to get a big win on Boxing Day and push up the league," Worcester's England-capped flanker Phil Dowson told BT Sport.
"But Bristol will be saying exactly the same thing, they will see us as the next weakest team they can get after.
"We've been talking a lot about it and I'm sure they have as well, because there is so much riding on it in terms of the second half of the season."