Montpellier boss Rene Girard has urged his side to show their Ligue 1 title-winning exploits last season were not a fluke.
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La Paillade pipped big-spending Paris St Germain for their first ever league triumph in the 2011-12 campaign but a lethargic start this term saw them win just two of their opening nine league games.
A disappointing Champions League campaign hardly helped raise spirits either although they seem to be hitting their stride just before the winter break.
Girard's side have lost just one of their past eight league fixtures - 1-0 away to leaders Lyon - to prise them away from the relegation places and have been boosted by successive wins over Ajaccio and Brest.
Girard is desperate to see his side continue their run against Bastia on Saturday, telling reporters: "We are the defending champions champions in France. We will justify that and prove that last season was not an accident and that the boys have the potential to have a great second half of the season."
Following their 2-1 win in Brest on Wednesday, he added: "It was important to build on our last six or seven results to get ourselves back into contention, and now we're not too far off fifth. It's encouraging.
"The luck we've been lacking of late was with us, but you have to go looking for it."
Bastia are just three points above the drop zone following a 2-1 midweek home defeat to Marseille, but they are still reeling after being told by the disciplinary commission of the French League (LFP) that they were no longer allowed to play at their Furiani Stadium after an incident during that game.
Already performing behind closed doors owing to violent incidents, dissenting fans set off fireworks outside the ground while the game was going on in Corsica, forcing the LFP to take action.
Bastia president told his club's official website he was "amazed" and "speechless" at the decision but the club now have to focus on on-field matters.
Frederic Hantz's squad has been decimated with injuries, however, with Fethi Harek (groin), Yannick Cahuzac (shoulder), Matthieu Sans (knee), Salim Moizini (knee) and Sylvain Marchal all unavailable.