Picturedabove: Ulster flanker Kieron Dawson, who spent ten years at LondonIrish, will line out against his former club in Reading tomorrow(kick-off 3.30pm).Hoping to help Ulster win their first ever game on English soil, Dawsonknows his side's Heineken Cup lives depend on the next two weekends.
Speaking about the superb facilities at the Madejski Stadium,he said: "The Madejski is a fantastic stadium. They hotel we arestaying in is part of the complex so it is just a walk out in themorning.
"The surface is fantastic and the acoustics of the stadium mean thatthe noise the crowd generates is thrown back onto the pitch so theatmosphere will be superb no matter how many people are in it.
"It will be great for the lads and if you can't play rugby on thatsurface then you shouldn't be a professional player! We should just usethat."
Over 3,000 Ulster supporters areplanning to make the trip to the Madejski tomorrow, with a number ofex-pats living in the London region also set to roar on Mark McCall'smen.
Ulster prop and captain Simon Best, who is set for his first start of this season's Heineken Cup, passes a ball at Newforge in front of his front row colleague Justin Fitzpatrick. Best is confident that the province can end a run of nine straight defeats in England.
He said: "It is a must-win game and we have no more second chances in this competition. All the squad are aware of that and that extra bit of pressure on ourselves will hopefully have a position impact.
"We're all very focused on it and understand what is at stake. With theexperience the guys have now, we don't want to be known as nearly menagain for another season.
"The Leinster game (last weekend) was very important to us in that wegot back together as a team after a month away. It was difficult totake a lot structure-wise from that game because of the conditions. Butthe main thing was getting back together and being able to start onMonday morning fresh and the three-day preparation this week has been very positive for us."
Ulster and Ireland winger Tommy Bowe has missed six games for his province and country since injurying his hamstring in Ulster's thrilling 30-3 Heineken Cup defeat of Toulouse in October.
Bowe missed Ulster's European clash with Llanelli, their Magners Leaguemeetings with Borders and Leinster, and Ireland's three Guinness AutumnTests, but is now back fully fit and itching for his return in thewhite of Ulster.
The 22-year-old speedster admitted: "It's been very frustrating to beout as I want to be playing games. I've only played two half games andthree quarters of another one and I haven't finished a match yet this season.
"It wasn't the best time to get an injury. I tried to get fit for theinternationals, but it didn't happen. Everybody gets injured and I havebeen very lucky that I have not had any serious injuries.
"This is a must-win game," he added. "We were in the same position lastyear, but threw it away at Saracens in a game where we should have gota victory. We now have a chance to change that record and take the team to new levels."
Ulster and Ireland utility back Paddy Wallace willmake only his twelfth Heineken Cup start in Reading tomorrow. The27-year-old, who has been starring at inside centre for Ulster thisseason, is pictured alongside his midfield partner Paul Steinmetz.
A former All Black, Steinmetz is a very influential figure inthe Ulster back line, thriving alongside the young talents of Bowe andAndrew Trimble and also offering a goal-kicking option.
Andrew Trimble hasspent the past four weeks rehabbing his hamstring, after he felt ittighten during the second half of Ireland's 32-15 defeat of SouthAfrica at Lansdowne Road.
After some thorough sprinting and fitness sessions,the Ballymena clubman is now good to go and will line out on the leftwing against 'Irish tomorrow. He said: "Before the injury, I felt likeI was gaining a bit of momentum and really starting to peak but to getinjured and take a step back, I am going to have to start all overagain at the weekend.
"You have to get a bit of form back and get a bit of confidence. I have to take confidence from my own ability and assure myself that I am going to pick off where I left off. It is going to be a massive occasion and I'm really looking forward to it."
Ulster coach Mark McCall hasadmitted London Irish "are probably the most difficult side that wehave come against to analyse." The former Ireland centre said: "It'snot absolutely certain what their best starting XV is and what theirbest combinations are. That in itself offers an element of intriguefrom our point of view.
"Their combinations play slightly differently and they defend slightlydifferently. They are unpredictable and if they are on song, they areon song in a big way," he conceded. "We watched them beat Northamptontwo weeks ago, and everything went their way and they played reallywell.
"But it also seems this year when they go behind, sometimes they don'thave the ability to get back into games so it is important for us to start the game very well, try and impose ourselves and build up a lead."
Ulster out-half David Humphreys hasstarted this season's Heineken Cup in excellent form, scoring 15 pointsagainst both Toulouse and Llanelli. The former Irish international hasaccumulated a total of 532 points in his 53 Heineken Cup games to date.
Humphreys played five games for London Irish in the 1997/98 ChallengeCup, helping them to wins over Stade Francais, Dax and Farul Constanta.
**All photos by Oliver McVeigh of Sportsfile**