One game left and all to play for. Win and Worcester are in the quarter-finals of Europe's second tier competition for the first time in their history. Lose and they could be out.

Yet their director of rugby, John Brain, has already moved on from the European Challenge Cup and has described the result of tonight's Pool Five match in Montpellier as 'irrelevant', preferring instead to make sure his team's fluidity and confidence are fully restored ahead of next week's appointment to fry a rather bigger fish.

Bristol and a return to Premiership action, a competition in which Worcester have been sliding of late, await the Sixways side a week today and Brain has always been clear on his priorities. Pool tables are all well and good but the league table doesn't lie.

He will, of course, take his side to France expecting them to come back with a victory and thereby qualify for the last eight as group winners but more importantly he will demand a good performance.

"Whatever happens in this competition, in the context of our season, it is an important game," Brain said. "We went into Saturday's match [against Catania] on the back of four losses so we had to show an improvement in certain areas.

"Certainly aspects were better but were still not good enough so we need more improvements before we go to Bristol next week. The competition is almost irrelevant; what is relevant is our performance."

Worcester dominated Catania last weekend and secured a try bonus point for just the second time in any match this year.

Yet the perception remained that a 44-8 victory was still only a par score for the amount of possession they garnered. Brain said so after that game and will no doubt have impressed upon his charges the importance of being more clinical in their execution.

Their efforts were not helped by the fact they lost wing Uche Oduoza before he even took to the field - the teenager was injured in the warm-up - and Thinus Delport to a nasty-looking twisted knee after just 17 minutes.

The full-back does not feature tonight and scans have shown he will not do so for the next six weeks. "There is every chance he could get back before that," said Brain optimistically, even though the assessment was at the upper end of his original guesstimate.

With Nicolas Le Roux still out, James Brown fills in as the last line and Gary True-man comes in for Oduoza on the wing.

Trueman, an inside centre by trade, is something of a forgotten man at Sixways having made just two starts all season. He is not anyone's idea of a speedster though and his selection on the wing says as much about the claims of other candidates as it does his own abilities.

It will be a big opportunity for the 25-year-old to make up ground lost during a 12-week absence due to ankle surgery.

Phil Murphy also returns to the side at lock having beaten his rib problem. That forces Ed O'Donoghue back on to the bench in an otherwise identical line-up to the one that played most of the Catania match.

For their part Montpellier are already eliminated from the tournament but Worcester anticipate a difficult evening anyway. Like their guests they too have more pressing concerns in domestic competition.

Third bottom of the Top 14 the French side has decent pedigree throughout the side with Italian international Alessandro Stoica at inside centre and Argentina's Martin Durand on the blindside. Brain expects his hosts to play as strong a side as possible.

"They are a very physical team who play a simple brand of rugby," he said. "They might be close to the bottom of the Top 14 but they do not appear to lose many at home.

"The most recent home game we have looked at was when they played Biarritz and lost by a point.

"I understand they intend to field a near full-strength pack - they clearly recognise we are strong in that area - although they might have one or two first choice backs missing. They know they are out of this competition and can approach the game with less pressure."

Worcester need to win to be assured of progress but Brain has given up hope of a home tie in the quarter-finals with Viadana needing to beat Northampton in Pool One to elevate his side into the top four seeds.

Which means the most likely outcome is a trip to either Newcastle or Frank-lin's Gardens in the next round - assuming Worcester get there.