Reluctant banker Ben Hinshelwood believes Worcester have turned their season around and is putting his money on his old side to win their fight to stay in the Guinness Premiership.
But Hinshelwood, who retired in November 2005 after being forced out of the game by a persistent back problem, says Warriors need to make their move in the next month if they are to avoid slipping out of the top flight.
Since quitting Sixways the 29-year-old has returned to his old job with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia but he has kept tabs on their progress and the way they have responded to adversity this campaign.
It took Worcester nearly half a season to win their first league match and, while they have beaten Saracens and Northampton Saints and battled out a hard-earned draw with London Wasps in the last couple of months, they are still lying|bottom|of|the|table.
Hinshelwood maintains they need to get something from their next two matches — this weekend against Leicester and then the match at Gloucester — to make inroads into their four-point deficit.
"Worcester can definitely stay up but it will be difficult," Hinshelwood said. "Their season has turned and it will require a lot of hard work which I am sure everyone is up for.
"The difference Phil Larder has made is obvious and this is translating into results though every game now is crucial.
"If Worcester can get a step closer to Newcastle and Northampton in the next couple of games then the battle is wide open."
But if they don’t manage to do that and end up dropping into National One the former Scotland international — whose father Sandy also played Test rugby — is adamant they must keep the team together.
He said: "If they are relegated I hope that the club can retain the core of the squad, Quins have shown that this is what must be done.
"It is no different to when we were promoted and had had the same group of guys for a couple of years, it makes a huge difference."
Things are progressing well in that direction. Pat Sanderson has already made a commitment to forgo his England ambitions and stay at Sixways next season even if it means playing in the First Division.
Wales tighthead Chris Horsman has also given assurances about his position after silencing concerns over his form, discipline and fitness in recent weeks to earn a Six Nations debut against Ireland ten days ago.
But Horsman’s injury problems are nothing compared to what Hinshelwood had to endure late in his career.
Having been a vital part of the team that produced the first of 26 wins in the National One campaign, he helped Worcester beat the odds and stay in the Premiership in their first season. But he found his training and playing time limited by a back problem that never went away. He ended his Scotland career at the start of the 2005-6 season and called it a day on all professional rugby a few months later.
Happily things have improved sufficiently for him to consider playing again. "My back is a great deal better and I occasionally think about having a game again, perhaps just socially," he said.
"I do miss playing but don't miss the pain I was going through which was affecting my whole life. I am able to do a lot more now than when I had back problems and I don't want to go through it again."