Jason Shoemark hopeful Exeter Chiefs can get back to winning ways against Exiles
Exeter Chiefs centre Jason Shoemark has admitted that the Devon club's players are hurting from their poor run in the Aviva Premiership.
They go into Saturday's home match with struggling London Welsh on the back of a five-game winless run in the league. The latest defeat was a 31-11 reverse at Saracens last weekend, when the home side ran in four tries.
With the Exiles fighting for every point as they battle to stay in the top flight, Shoemark is expecting a big game this weekend at Sandy Park.
The 32-year-old said: "We're pretty keen to get our campaign on track and get a bit of momentum until the end of the season.
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"It starts here and both teams will be looking for a win so it should be a good game.
"Our philosophy has always been one game at a time but after you lose a few games on the trot it hurts a little bit and training gets a bit more intense.
"The coaches are good, they don't get too stressed about it. Even when we win we stay on an even plain.
"Things need to pick up a little bit but hopefully we can turn the corner soon."
Shoemark is hoping the Chiefs fans can play their part in helping Exeter return to winning ways this weekend.
Northampton are the only away side to win at Sandy Park in the league this season and the New Zealander is hoping he and his teammates can use their home fortress to their advantage once again.
"Our fans have been awesome all year and hopefully they can pick us up again and get us back on track," he said.
"We love playing here at Sandy Park so it's as good as any time to start winning games again."
Exeter lost against London Welsh earlier in the campaign, when Lyn Jones' side fought back from being 14-0 down after 11 minutes to win 25-24.
But Shoemark insists the Chiefs will not be going out hunting revenge on Saturday, merely looking for a win that would boost their chances of getting back into the top six and a possible Heineken Cup qualification spot.
"It's not about revenge, it's about going out there and making sure we play to the best of our ability," said the former Highlanders ace.
"If we do that it will put us on the right track and hopefully the results will follow."
Last weekend's match at Saracens' new Allianz Park home was played on an artificial surface, which attracted a lot of interest.
While several of his teammates have reported suffering friction burns from the pitch, Shoemark felt it wasn't much of a factor as soon as the game got under way.
"Once you're out there playing you don't notice it that much," he said.
"A lot of the guys pulled up a bit sore because of the impacts but I didn't mind it too much. It was a good experience and it should be a back's dream up there."
Exeter prop Craig Mitchell has been named on the bench for Wales' trip to play Italy in Rome in the RBS Six Nations Championship on Saturday.
The tighthead has appeared in his country's first two matches in the tournament this season, and scored his first international try in the defeat against Ireland in the opening encounter. They followed that up with a 16-6 success in France last time out.
Alongside Mitchell on the bench are fit-again Sam Warburton and Alun Wyn Jones.
Coach Ron Howley has opted to stick with the same starting XV that helped Wales to the win in Paris two weeks ago.
A fourth win from as many games has put Exeter in the driving seat to claim a semi-final place in the Academy Under-18 League.
They scored eight tries in a 53-5 victory against Wasps at Sandy Park last weekend.