Recruitment is Bath management's priority - Mike Ford

Mike Ford

Bath first-team coach Mike Ford has said the club are "relentlessly" pursuing their recruitment options.

A number of Bath's biggest names have deals that expire at the end of the season, including Matt Banahan and former captain Michael Claassens.

"I don't think you ever stop talking about recruitment," Ford told BBC Radio Bristol. "It's probably the most important part of any management team.

"It's a relentless task but we are enjoying it."

The former England defence coach said planning was already being done for the 2014-15 season.

"There are some players that are out of contract this year and we've got to look to try and strengthen our squad," added Ford.

"But you are not just looking at next year, you're looking at the year after that and the one after that. That's how much planning needs to be done.

"The good thing about it is that everyone to a man has said they want to stay - they like what's happening at Bath and they can see something growing."

Ford is part of a new-look coaching team that was brought in over the summer, with former South Africa assistant coach Gary Gold at the helm.

Asked whether decisions had already been made or whether contract extensions remained undecided, Ford said: "It's a bit of both. Gary is talking to the players who are out of contract.

"One thing the players wanted at the start of the season was open and honest feedback. They have got the right man in Gary to do that because he doesn't know any other way."

Scrum-half Claassens, who made his 150th appearance for Bath against Harlequins in the LV= Cup on Friday, said his own future was undecided.

"My plan was to come to Bath for two years and I've been here for six years," said the South African. "I've enjoyed my time here so much it would be good to stay here longer. We will probably have a chat in the next month or so and then make a decision."

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