Leicester Tigers boss Geordan Murphy believes the odds are stacked against his side ahead of Saturday's game at Saints.
Tigers currently sit second from bottom in the Gallagher Premiership standings, having won just one of their four league games so far.
Saints are only behind table-toppers Bristol Bears on points difference, having only lost once in the league this season.
And Murphy knows how tough it will be for his team at Franklin's Gardens this weekend.
"I've been hugely impressed by the way Northampton have played during the past couple of years," Murphy said.
"They've obviously got a very strong coaching team there and they play a distinct way.
"They've caused us problems over the past couple of years when we've played them, certainly in the Premiership Rugby Cup last month.
"We were in control of that game until about 60 minutes, threw an intercept and they went to the end of the field and a 14-point turnaround cost us that game.
"It's noticeable how their league form is: they're three from four, second in the table, flying high and playing some very good rugby.
"We've got to go to their house and it doesn't get much tougher.
"If you add in that it's a local derby, it's huge.
"We know Northampton are a quality side, their league position indicates that and it's always tough to go to Northampton.
"When you look at their league standing against ours, the odds are stacked against us, but we've been building during the past couple of weeks.
"We've learned some good lessons in the last few outings and hopefully we can be better again this week."
Leicester have resisted the temptation to throw all of their England stars straight back in during the past couple of weeks.
But they have managed to win both of their European Challenge Cup matches and will now pick their best available side this weekend.
That means the likes of George Ford, Jonny May and Manu Tuilagi are likely to start.
"We chose to give some guys last weekend off," said Murphy, who steered his side to a narrow win at Cardiff Blues.
"We had a tough training week and those guys did some very tough training sessions at the back end of last week to try to replicate game scenarios.
"The team we pick this week will be the best team we have available to go and get a result at Northampton Saints."
Saints have already beaten Tigers once this season, earning a 31-22 victory at Welford Road in October.
And Murphy recognises just how vital this fixture is for his team.
"It's important," he said.
"The local derby is a big game, but every game in the Premiership is a big game now.
"You don't get anything easy and it's very difficult.
"We don't want to spike emotions so much this week that we can't perform the following week.
"We've got tough fixtures throughout and we've got to go there measured and try to perform to our best ability."