Jim Mallinder has warned his Saints players they must be up for the fight against ‘scrappers’ London Welsh.
Mallinder’s men go marching in to the Kassam Stadium on Sunday, looking to enhance their chances of a place in the Premiership play-off semi-finals.
Saints currently sit fourth in the standings, level on points with Gloucester, who were thrashed 32-9 by Sale Sharks on Friday night.
The Sharks and London Welsh are battling it out to avoid the drop, with the Oxford-based outfit now a huge 13 points adrift of safety.
And Mallinder knows how desperate his side’s latest opposition will be to claim a Saints-sized scalp today.
“I’d probably call them scrappers,” he said. “They fight for everything and in the pack they’ve got some lads who will put themselves about and get into you.
“They’ll fight for every single inch. They’ve got a good kicking game and they’ll play rugby at the right time.
“They’re been playing like a desperate side ever since they started in the Premiership and they’ve taken some good scalps so we’ve got to be very, very wary of them.”
Mallinder has called for a big reaction from his players after they were humbled at the hands of Leicester Tigers two weeks ago.
That 36-8 defeat was tough to take and Saints know they must not repeat that below-par performance as their pursuit of a play-off place intensifies.
“It’s easily fixed,” said Mallinder. “It’s focus, putting your priorities on the right things and it’s making sure you don’t just keep talking about it, you learn your lessons.
“We need a reaction this weekend. Over the past few months London Welsh have not played many home games, the majority have been away.
“They have had a poor run in terms of results and they’ll be absolutely desperate to turn us over so we’ve got to be at our very best.”