Lee wants Saints to shine ahead of return to Premiership action

THINKING AHEAD - Lee Dickson is keen for Saints to get back on track ahead of some crucial games in the Aviva Premiership (Picture: Linda Dawson)
THINKING AHEAD - Lee Dickson is keen for Saints to get back on track ahead of some crucial games in the Aviva Premiership (Picture: Linda Dawson)
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Lee Dickson wants Saints to use Saturday’s game against Leinster to get back on track ahead of a crucial series of games in the Aviva Premiership.

Northampton head to Dublin looking to restore pride after suffering a 40-7 defeat to Leinster at Franklin’s Gardens last weekend.

Saints’ hopes of making the Heineken Cup quarter-finals now look slim, as Leinster are eight points clear of them at the top of Pool 1.

But it’s still very much game on in the Premiership, where Jim Mallinder’s men currently sit second, two points behind leaders Saracens.

And Dickson is desperate for his team to get a shot in the arm on Saturday as they build up to clashes with Wasps, Bath and Harlequins in the coming weeks.

“This weekend is a massive step for us into the Christmas period because after that we go down to Wasps and then we’ve got Bath, who are close to us in the table,” said the scrum-half.

“We’ve also got Quins, who are in the top four as well, so it’s three massive games and if we want to keep the ball rolling in the Premiership we’ve got to win all three of those games.”

Saints have lost just three matches in all competitions this season and had won seven in a row before last weekend’s Leinster loss.

And Dickson is now eager for his team to give a proper account of themselves in Dublin on Saturday evening.

“The mood’s been good this week,” he said. “These Heineken Cup weekends are brilliant in that we get to have another crack this weekend away from home, where no one gives us a chance.

“We’re playing at the Aviva Stadium in front of a lot of people, it’s going to be a good weekend and the boys are really pumped for it now.”

And he added: “You’ve got to step up in days after the game. It happens to everyone. Not everyone goes through and has a perfect season.

“We had a blip but we don’t turn into a bad team overnight. We’ve had some phenomenal wins this year and we’ve only lost three games.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re still rolling and we’ve got to go over there and restore some pride ahead of the Premiership games.”

And Saints have reason to believe they can spring a surprise as they lost just three times on the road during 2013.

“When I first came, we did struggle to win away from home,” said Dickson, who joined Northampton from Newcastle in 2008.

“Our away mentality is really good now and we have played well away.

“People do underestimate us when we go away from home so it’s going to be a good test for us.”