EBBW Vale skipper Ronny Kynes says a change in head coach at Eugene Cross Park has given the squad “the kick up the backside” they needed.

Greg Woods succeeded Lee Davies in the Steelmen hot-seat last month following the latter’s departure in December.

Results have improved significantly since Davies left, with Jason Strange and Ceri Jones taking the reins on a temporary basis before Woods’ arrival.

And while life under Woods started with an 18-15 reverse against Newport last weekend, Kynes can only see things continuing to improve after Ebbw’s poor early season form.

“It has been very positive since Greg came in,” said Kynes.

“It’s the same squad of players as before but the last couple of results have been much better.

“It’s difficult to say why that has happened, maybe it has given everyone another chance to show a new coach what they can do.

“It has certainly given everybody the kick up the backside we needed.

“I was frustrated more than anyone when things weren’t going well but it seems that the boys have got the bit between their teeth now.

“Before, we were trying to get everyone up for games but it didn’t seem to be there for whatever reason.”

Ebbw host Pontypridd – the side Cross Keys beat in Woods’ last game in charge at Pandy Park – tonight sitting ninth in the Principality Premiership, nine points behind their opponents.

Fortunately for the Steelmen, their disappointing start to the campaign hasn’t damaged their chances of staking a claim for the title they won in 2016.

“We’ve been pretty lucky with the league structure this season,” Kynes added.

“It’s like we’ve got a second chance. The first part of the season didn’t really count for much and really worked in our favour. We’re still in the cup as well and we’ll be going all out to win some trophies.”

All Premiership teams play each other once in the second part of the campaign after being split into east and west divisions before the New Year.

They took points based on where they finished in the regional conferences into the remainder of the season when all 16 clubs merged into one league.

Pontypridd head to Ebbw (kick-off 7.15pm) having already beaten Kynes’ men twice this term, but tonight’s hosts are a much-improved outfit these days.

They could consider themselves very unlucky not to beat Newport last time out, having played for most of the match with 14 men following Cameron Regan’s early red card.

“I didn’t see the sending off but I’ve heard it was a soft one,” said the skipper.

“We were in total control for the first 15 minutes and I think we would have gone on to win with 15 men.

“Newport struggled to beat us even though we were down a man, so you’ve got to give credit to our boys.”