GREG Woods insists Merthyr’s defeat by Swansea only makes his Ebbw Vale side’s job at the Wern tonight (kick-off 7.15pm) that much tougher.

The Ironmen returned from St Helen’s last Saturday smarting from a 27-5 reverse against the in-form hosts.

With Cardiff beating Llanelli the following day, Merthyr saw their Principality Premiership lead cut to just a single point with eight games to go.

But Woods’ men are not out of the title race either thanks to a 17-16 win over Pontypridd a week ago.

They go to Merthyr 11 points shy of the league leaders, who won at Eugene Cross Park earlier in the season and knocked the Steelmen out of the WRU National Cup in January.

“We haven’t beaten Merthyr since I’ve been here, but we are hungry to do that,” said Woods, who joined Ebbw from Cross Keys in January 2018.

“The boys have prepared well and straight after the Pontypridd game we spoke about backing up that result against Merthyr.

“If we’re going to win then our performance will probably need to be our best so far this season.”

He added: “Merthyr losing at Swansea makes it harder for us because they will be hurting and won’t want to lose two on the bounce.

“We’ve got to win if we want to stay in the race for the championship.

“Before last week we had the top three left to play and we’ve beaten one of them, so the race is still on.”

Woods was “bitterly disappointed” to concede a try off a set-piece against Pontypridd, however, he took great pride in Ebbw’s defensive effort.

“Pontypridd are a great attacking side, one of the best in the league, but our defence was solid,” said Woods. “And when we got into their 22, we came away with points.

“It’s going to be the same at Merthyr, they’ve got a lot of threats going forward and we’ll have to take our opportunities when they come.

“It’s about time we beat them, and we’d love to do it this season.”