Ben Foden knows February is a big month for Saints.
With their Six Nations stars away, Jim Mallinder’s men face two crucial Aviva Premiership away games as well as one at home and an Anglo-Welsh Cup clash.
First up is the domestic cup encounter against Scarlets on Friday night, with Saints knowing they must win at Franklin’s Gardens to stand any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.
That match will be followed by big league battles at Bath, who are five points above Saints in the Premiership standings, and Newcastle before a home game against Worcester.
And Foden said: “We know how crucial this period of the season is.
“When players go away for the Six Nations there’s a lot of unrest and changes going through some of the teams.
“We lose some big players to international duty, with the likes of Teimana (Harrison), Woody (Tom Wood) and Louis Picamoles.
“It also means there are good opportunities for players to come through.
“Dylan (Hartley) and Courtney (Lawes) are obviously away as well, Georgie North, so there are a lot of players missing, but a lot of opportunities for players to put their hand up.
“We know if we’re going to challenge for silverware we need to win these games (in February) and make a run of it.
“We need to make sure winning becomes a habit for this team.
“We’ve faced a lot of criticism this year but we know we’re not in a bad position as it stands.
“Sixth playing fourth in the Premiership next Friday - we owe Bath after losing to them earlier in the season. If we can get that result, we can push forward.”
Foden is one of several first-team players who have been rested and rotated during the past two weeks.
And the full-back said: “It’s nice to get a bit of respite into the legs.
“I’m keen to get out there now and hopefully we can give ourselves a good chance of going through in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.”