We can finish higher than fourth spot, says Bristol Rugby's Ross Johnston
ROSS Johnston has set his sights on catching Nottingham and possibly even Bedford, after claiming Bristol will not be content to merely finish in the Championship play-offs.
Bristol's impressive 18-6 win at Bedford has put them nine points behind Mike Rayer's side and eight adrift of Nottingham, who visit the Memorial Stadium on Friday.
And, with six Championship matches left, hooker Johnston remains confident Bristol can finish higher than fourth.
"It's not your aim to finish the season in fourth – you want to be as good as you can be," said the in-form Welshman.
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"We'll just keep plugging on and keep doing what we're doing, and, if we can perform like we did on Saturday week-in, week-out, then hopefully the league will take care of itself.
"I know this season didn't start in the way in which we wanted, but I think things are finally starting to click now. We're hoping we can sneak up behind somebody and catch them out.
"I think we're starting to build momentum, but we're a grounded squad, we'll keep our feet firmly on the ground and keep taking it one game at a time.
"One of the things that attracted me to Bristol was the fact there are no big egos here and all the boys are Average Joes, coming in and getting on with it – all mucking in.
"On Saturday, the boys worked ridiculously hard and the win was testament to how hard they worked."
Bristol were superb in all areas of their game on Saturday, defending resolutely and regularly opening up Bedford with a string of dangerous attacks.
In addition to the two tries they scored, they were held up over the line on another two occasions, with Fautua Otto in particular looking as if he had scored.
And Johnston wants a repeat performance on Friday against a Nottingham side who beat Bristol 63-7 four months ago.
"We know how big a win it was at the weekend – they don't come easily at Bedford and the way in which we did it, not letting them score a try, was huge," he said.
"It was a massive win for us at Bedford, but we're back to work now and looking forward to Nottingham.
"Nottingham basically embarrassed us and there's nothing else that needs to be said about Nottingham. It's another huge game for us, so this week is massive."
Bristol chairman Chris Booy, meanwhile, has urged the club's supporters to pack the Memorial Stadium for Friday's game.
In a statement published on the club's official website, Booy hinted at a belief in the Bristol camp that promotion is not beyond them this season, despite leaders Newcastle's rampant form.
"This home clash against Nottingham is a vital match in our attempt to remain in the top four of the league and push for a place in the RFU Championship semi-finals," he wrote.
"We really believe that, if we can get into the semi-finals, then we are very capable of matching any team in the knockout phase.
"It would be great to see a packed Mem on Friday evening for the game against Nottingham and I would encourage you all to come along and support the team and bring as many friends and family as you can."