Richard Hill will send his Bristol Rugby team out against his hometown club in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals at high noon on Saturday wary of a Bath Rugby backlash.

The two West Country teams go head-to-head at the Recreation Ground in the most local of local derbies with former England captain Hill – who scored 64 tries in 248 appearances for Bath – intent on making it four on the trot over his old club and booking a European semi-final place away to either Saracens or Glasgow Warriors.

“Bath are still smarting from the three defeats we have inflicted on them in our last three meetings and, as I live in Bath, I know first hand precisely how much it has hurt them,” said the Bristol head coach.

“This is the most traditional – and certainly the most emotional – fixture in our calendar. It is a local derby between two of the oldest clubs in the country with a rivalry going back longer than almost any other.

“Bristol had been in Bath’s shadow and, although we have had a bit more success against them in the last two years, we know just how tough an encounter it is going to be on Saturday as the European Challenge Cup is the one route still open for them into next season’s Heineken Cup.

“As to what sort of form Bath are showing, I guess you can say that at the moment they are being a bit inconsistent. They can play absolutely brilliant rugby for 40 minutes and then come out of the dressing room and not perform anywhere near the same level.

“That said, on their day they are a very powerful side with stacks of talent and, if they click, they can beat anyone.

“My warning will be that if you catch them on one of their good days – watch out. In a game last year they ripped us apart and we know that if they are playing with confidence they can be lethal.”

Andrew Blowers – the former All Blacks back row forward who made 24 Heineken Cup appearances for Northampton Saints – is available for selection by Bristol after being named as one of their additional players with Hill adding “he is going very well at No 8 and playing better and better week by week.

“However as a club we are going through a bit of a funny patch and we certainly need to get back on track.

“A little bit of our winning edge has gone – that extra five per cent you need to win tight games. We had set ourselves a target of 50 points in the Guinness Premiership this season and, when we reached that mark in February, we perhaps slipped into a bit of a comfort zone.

“We need to get back to our old desperation stakes attitude because it has already been such a great season for us.”