Leicester Tigers have battened down the hatches and gone into survival mood this week after their third successive Aviva Premiership defeat at the weekend.
On Saturday Leicester lost 33-16 away to Gloucester, having gone down 22-19 at home to London Irish the week before and been blown clear out of the water 45-0 at Bath before that.
The Tigers, who are the most successful English club in the professional era, have not lost four in a row for more than a decade.
However tomorrow night they host Harlequins who are looking to smash down the crumbling walls at fortress Welford Road.
The talk in the league this week has been that since London Irish won at Leicester’s famous ground the fear factor has gone - a notion disputed by Leicester’s entrenched director of rugby Richard Cockerill who is ignoring increasingly vocal calls from some of the club’s fan base for his sacking.
At the moment he has the backing of the board but Leicester is a club famously ruthless in the wake of failings on the field.
They let club legend Dean Richards go despite the fact he led the Tigers to double European success and were not afraid to boot World Cup winning coach Bob Dwyer out the door.
The unavoidable truth is the fear factor has diminished at Welford Road but that is not something new to this season.
Last year Harlequins beat Leicester on their own turf and they have a good chance of doing it again tomorrow night having put 50 points on London Welsh last weekend.
The good news for Cockerill is that he can call on Manu Tuilagi as one of ten internationals in the Tigers starting line-up for the encounter with another two on the bench, most notably Argentine prop Marcos Ayerza who is back from international duty in the The Rugby Championship; where he and his country beat Australia in the final weekend of play.
The point is there really can’t be too many more excuses about Leicester not being able to field a competitive side.
Yes the Tigers still have about 20 players on the treatment table but the team named for Harlequins would be the envy of most club’s in the world.
Harlequins, who have repeatedly finished in the top four in recent years, are not about to make Leicester’s road to redemption an easy one and they are coming fully armed with all their biggest guns: England captain Chris Robshaw, European player of the year Mike Brown, former All Black Nick Evans, and England internationals Danny Care, Marland Yarde and Joe Marler.
The result will likely depend on the tempo the game is played out. Leicester need to desperately improve their tempo in both attack and defence and but they will need to flow down their opponents who hungrily feed off fast front foot ball.
With Leicester languishing in 10th position in the Aviva Premiership everyone knows a win is a must.
Because the injury crisis at the club has not abated Cockerill and his back room staff have added two recruits to the squad this week bringing in Wales second row international Lou Reed and former Wasps full back Tommy Bell.
Bell has been catching the eye for Jersey in The Championship this season and at just 21 is seen as a long term prospect for the club.
Reed, who has five caps for Wales, is a loan signing from Cardiff Blues to cover the loss of Ed Slater, Louis Deacon and Geoff Parling.
If Leicester do lose this weekend Tigers fans don’t get too down. It could be worse. Your club could me moving 80 miles up the road like Wasps who this week agreed a deal to move into the Ricoh Arena in Coventry from their current home in High Wycombe.
It should make what has always been a tasty rivalry between Tigers and Wasps even more intense are the game is now effectively a derby.
Leicester face Wasps away in May.