Mills relishing Sale showdown
London Welsh captain Jonathan Mills has no doubt about the importance of Friday night's Premiership clash with Sale.
Mills and company head to Salford City Stadium on the back of a thrilling victory over Exeter four days ago, their first win since joining the English top flight.
It took Welsh above Sale, Worcester and London Irish and served notice that they might not deserve the tag of red-hot relegation favourites pinned on them by most pundits.
After starting the season with punishing fixtures against Leicester and Harlequins, the Exeter win should give them confidence to push for a first Premiership away triumph at the expense of opponents currently lying 11th on one point.
"It was quite funny how people had already written us off after our first two games, but we were playing two of the best sides in the league," Mills said.
"Exeter are a quality side in their own right, but to be able to get a win at home at the Kassam Stadium was an amazing feeling for the boys.
"We are on the way now, and hopefully we can keep moving forward.
"No one gave us a chance in those games (against Leicester and Quins), but the one thing it did do was teach us how teams play in this league and what we need to do to be successful.
"We have adapted our game after those first two weeks.
"It is teams around us that we've got to be beating. If we can win five or six of those 'eight-point' games, we might be all right at the end of the season."
One area Welsh must improve, though, is their tendency for slow starts and conceding early points, as illustrated by an initial 14-point deficit against Exeter.
"Obviously, we've got to sort that out," Mills added.
"We can't be giving sides 14 points, especially when we are on their line and they go the length of the field. If we take that away, then hopefully we can get some comfortable wins rather than last-minute ones."
Mills has recovered from a facial injury sustained against Exeter to lead a team that shows one enforced change from that game, with flanker Michael Hills replacing an injured Mike Denbee.
Hills is one of two former Sale players in the Exiles' line-up, being joined by hooker Neil Briggs, who spent six seasons at Sharks before leaving last year.
Sale welcome back Wales international Andy Powell to their starting XV, while flanker Mark Easter also features in a side skippered by David Seymour.
"We haven't gone for wholesale changes because we believe that these players need to rectify some of the issues from the Quins game last weekend," Sale head coach Bryan Redpath said.
"It's been disappointing to lose three games, but we need to make sure that we don't over-analyse or panic.
"We were in the game last weekend but didn't take some chances that could have led to pressure, if not a scoring opportunity."