'How far can Edinburgh go? I have no idea yet'
|Challenge Cup quarter-final: Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues|
|Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 31 March Kick-off: 17:45 BST|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland (MW), Radio Wales AM, Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.|
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill admits he has “no idea” how far his side can go as their startling progress faces a serious test on two fronts.
The capital club host Cardiff Blues in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Next week they face Ulster knowing a win would secure a Pro14 play-off spot and Champions Cup rugby next season.
“Am I surprised? I still don’t know where we are going to end up,” Cockerill told BBC Scotland.
“There is no expectation for us because historically what would you base it on? There is nothing to base it on.
“We have just got to keep working hard. This season is not over. It is not a success for us yet because we still have lots to play for.”
“At some point the bubble will burst and at some point we will hit the road bump that derails us a little bit – and then we have to make sure we get back on task.
“But at this point, we are in Europe and want to go as far as we can, and we are in a good position in the league and want to go as far as we can.
“But how good we are, how good can we be, how far can we go? I have no idea yet.”
Edinburgh have failed to finish higher than eighth in the league in the past six years.
But they currently lie third in Pro14 Conference B, 13 points clear of Ulster, who have played a game less, and two points behind Scarlets, who they host in a fortnight before concluding their regular-season campaign with another Murrayfield date against Glasgow.
Since the start of October, Cockerill’s side have won 16 of their 19 games across both competitions, winning their past six Pro14 games.
“We have had some fortunate results that could have gone either way,” Cockerill acknowledged, “but that happens with any team in any season.
“We are doing OK, but because we are a capital city, everyone expects us to be something we are not at the moment. We are trying to build that.
“We have got good belief in the squad, we work hard, we prepare well, we are ready to play. If we get our best game out on the pitch, I think we will win [on Saturday], because we are a good team.
“But we have to get it right. There is no tomorrow. If you don’t win, you are out. You can’t make it up at any other point.”
A semi-final in France against Pau or Stade Francais awaits the winners of Saturday’s quarter-final.
Rain and sleet are due to hit Edinburgh, although it is forecast to relent before the 17:45 BST kick-off.
“The good thing about this team is that we can play a territory game, we can play a running game – so whatever the weather brings, we can deal with it,” Cockerill added.
“I am comfortable with where we are at. This is part of our development as a team.
“We are nine months into a project that could last three, four, five, six years. Nothing is ever finished, and nothing is fixed.
“I am not expecting us to be favourites to win the league next year. If we can qualify for Europe [the Champions Cup], that will be great for us and we can dine at the top table.
“If we can be in a play-off game, that is new territory for us in this format. So we have just got to keep building and learning from this experience, keep the core of this squad together, add to it and keep building for next year and the years after that.”