BATH director of rugby Todd Blackadder believes victory at Sale Sharks in Sunday’s final round of the Aviva Premiership will allow him to reflect more positively on his first season at the club, no matter the outcome.

The Rec side travel north sitting fifth in the table and still in with an outside chance of qualifying for the end-of-season play-offs.

However, that would require Bath claiming a bonus-point success over the Sharks and current fourth-placed side Leicester Tigers taking nothing from their trip to Worcester Warriors.

Having started the season so strongly, with eight wins in their opening nine rounds, Blackadder admits there will be a pang of disappointment if his side do miss out on the play-offs.

But having overseen a dramatic improvement on last season’s ninth-placed finish since his arrival at the club last summer, the New Zealander has put plenty of strong foundations in place – although a win at Sale would strengthen that case.

“At times it’s been fantastic, at times it has been frustrating and at times we should have come away with more than what we’ve got,” said Blackadder, on the season as a whole.

“There is a twinge of disappointment but there are also some good building blocks.

“It’s a given that you give everything in your performance and work hard every week but the reason you do that and work hard is to win things so it’s really important that we learn lessons from this year.

“We can’t control anything other than our own performance and we want to finish the season with a win.

“If we were to lose it would perhaps encompass our season but if we win and it’s still not enough then you can say it was just one of those things and you can be more positive that there is already good things in place to build on.”

Bath kept their top-four chances alive going into the final weekend of the season with a 44-20 win at home to West County rivals Gloucester last Sunday.

Blackadder was glad that there was no hangover from the previous weekend’s agonising European Challenge Cup semi-final defeat away at Stade Francais.

“It was a really good performance and in many ways it was the performance that we needed,” said Blackadder.

“We have been under a bit of a dark cloud for a while and we’ve had a bit of pressure on ourselves.

“It was nice to see that response and resilience is how you bounce back from disappointed and I think we did that quite well.”