HOOKER Luke Cowan-Dickie has set his sights on working his way into Exeter Chiefs' squad in the Aviva Premiership this season.
The 20-year-old starts for the Chiefs against Bristol on Saturday in the second pre-season match of the summer.
And he is hoping to show how much he has learned in the No. 2 jersey after making the switch from prop midway through last term.
Cowan-Dickie, who helped England under-20s win the IRB Junior World Championship in June, is looking forward to his first full campaign as a hooker.
And he hopes to get some game time in the top flight this season, with Jack Yeandle, Chris Whitehead and Greg Bateman also battling it out for the jersey.
"It would be good if I could force my way into the squad but at the minute I'm still progressing as a hooker, learning how to throw and scrummage in the middle," Cowan-Dickie said. "I've only had a few games there really.
"It would be great to get some game time in the Premiership this year, maybe 10 minutes here and there.
"If it does go really well my chance may come, but I'm just looking to keep progressing at the minute and see how it goes from there."
Cowan-Dickie was one of 33 players used by head coach Rob Baxter last weekend as Exeter won 23-15 away against the Scarlets in their opening game.
The Cornish youngster made a good impact from the bench late on and is hoping to build on that against Andy Robinson's Championship outfit.
"Last week we played a 15 in the first half and a different 15 in the second half and I think we'll look to do something similar again this weekend," he said.
"If I do get 30 or 40 minutes, hopefully I'll show what I can do and it can put me in good stead for the next game and following on for the season."
Having impressed as a loosehead prop early in his career, Cowan-Dickie played as a hooker for the first time for the Chiefs in an LV= Cup clash at Bath in January.
England under-20s used him as both a hooker and prop in last season's Six Nations but he has been focused on the No. 2 role since then.
And he is beginning to feel settled in the middle of the scrum, where older brother and Chiefs colleague Tom also plays.
Cowan-Dickie said: "I am feeling more at home at hooker now, I haven't played prop for a while.
"When I first started moving across I was trying to think of myself as a prop/hooker and I played a bit of both for a while.
"I can see now they want me full-time at hooker so it's more hooker that can play prop.
"I don't mind playing hooker at all. So long as I can sort out my throwing and my hooking in the scrums it will all be good."
Having trained since mid-June, Cowan-Dickie and his teammates were glad to be able to test themselves in a match last weekend in South Wales.
That gave them plenty of things to work on in training this week as they prepare to face Bristol.
"We've been working on quite a few things in training now which have changed slightly from last year," he said.
"Just to get a game in and see what they're like in a proper game situation was very useful.
"We have been playing contact games here but it's nothing like being on a pitch playing against a team you don't train with week in, week out."
Although Bristol were thrashed 69-5 at Bath last weekend, Cowan-Dickie is expecting a tough afternoon against a side tipped to do well in the second tier this term.
"We know it's going to be a tough game," he said. "I played with Plymouth against them in the Championship and they are a physical side.
"We'll be looking for a big game and hopefully we can do what we've been working on in training and get the win."