EBBW Vale have bolstered their squad for the battle against relegation from the Premiership after being hit by a glut of injuries, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Steelmen gave their bid to beat the drop to the Championship a huge lift with a 18-5 victory against Pontypridd at Eugene Cross Park last Saturday.

Cup rugby means that they do not play this weekend, although they will hope that Ponty will be fired-up by that loss to inflict a defeat on bottom club Bridgend at Sardis Road.

The Ravens are four points back on Ebbw and have already played a game more.

The Steelmen face Newport at Rodney Parade next Friday in a game that could drag the Black and Ambers into the relegation scrap and they will be boosted by the permanent signings of a number of players who have featured in recent weeks.

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Mike Powell (pictured), who spent the last five seasons with Bridgend, has signed along with fellow winger Aaron Grabham, formerly of Llanelli, Aberavon, Neath and the Ravens.

Grabham crossed in the win against Ponty while Ryan Evans kicked a vital penalty in the draw at Llandovery.

He has has filled in at fly-half and full-back for the Steelmen but will hope to feature at his preferred position of outside centre after signing while the return of Rhys Jones from Merthyr has been confirmed by the Steelmen.

Greg Woods has also strengthen his pack by the signing of imposing 6ft 9ins, 20st lock Corey Talbot from Old Redcliffians in Bristol.

The Steelmen have been hard hit by injury and have suffered another blow with the loss of centre Paul King, who suffered a thumb injury against Ponty and will be out for six to eight weeks.

Hooker/back row Rhys Francis is out for the rest of the season after dislocating a shoulder against the Drovers while Dai Langdon is waiting for news on a scan after a knee injury.

Flanker Cameron Regan faces three months out after a wrist operation but the news is better for scrum-half Sam Ireland, who is close to a return after a concussion and then a groin injury.

Hooker Joe Franchi (hamstring), fly-half Lewis Williams (groin) and back row Owen Young (knee) will be in the mix soon.