HEAD coach Mike Ford wants his Bath squad to make their mark on history by clinching the first major silverware of his tenure at the Rec.

Ford’s men can book a place in the final of the LV= Cup next weekend by seeing off the challenge of Exeter Chiefs for a fourth time this season at the Rec on Sunday.

Bath have made undoubted strides forward this season, holding third place in the Aviva Premiership as well as places in the knockout phases of both this competition and Europe’s Amlin Challenge Cup.

Ford, whose United team clinched the Aviva A League title earlier this season, knows that progress will ultimately be judged on what trophies the club can put on the sideboard.

“There are not many trophies you can play for each year and this is one of them,’’ said Ford, who will lose George Ford, Dave Attwood and Davey Wilson to England duty and Paul James to Wales this weekend.

“When players look back on their careers it’s about ‘what did they win?’ “You don’t want to end up saying ‘I had 10 years at Bath and I earned X number of pounds’.

“You want to say ‘I had that time and I won X number of trophies.’

“We’ve got the opportunity to do something special.’’

Anthony Watson and Kyle Eastmond have been released by England and should be available for selection, but scrum-half Peter Stringer has concussion protocols in place after coming off during last week’s 23-10 home Premiership defeat by Saracens.

Back row Matt Garvey also missed that match, while Carl Fearns will not be available against Exeter.

The Saracens reverse was only Bath’s fourth of the season, but Ford insists the mood among squad and coaches has been “unbelievably positive’’ after poring over the video of that match.

“You always learn more from defeat than victory,’’ he added.

“In four games we’ve lost this year, three of them have been against Saracens and Northampton and, if we get through this semi-final, it’s one of those two in the final again.

“We took a load of positives from last week’s game. We got behind on the scoreboard a bit and probably learned not to let the scoreboard dictate the game but it’s very exciting, especially with a semi-final ahead.’’