Dowson confident Lawes can still play a part for Saints this season

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Phil Dowson is confident that Courtney Lawes will be able to play for Saints before the end of the season.

With just three regular-season games to go, the clock is ticking as Lawes looks to recover from a shoulder problem sustained while on England duty.

The 34-year-old has not played for Saints since suffering a calf injury during the first half of the Heineken Champions Cup defeat to La Rochelle back in January.

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And, due to a series of unfortunate injury issues, he has only been able to play four games for his club so far this season.

Courtney LawesCourtney Lawes
Courtney Lawes

When asked for an update on Lawes at Tuesday's media session ahead of Saturday's crucial Gallagher Premiership game at London Irish, Dowson said: "He's good.

"I've seen him running around, he's obviously not back into contact, but he seems to be progressing well."

And when asked whether Lawes could feature for Saints, who face Saracens and Newcastle next month, before the conclusion of the current campaign, Dowson said: "I think so.

"I think they (the medical staff) are fairly confident.

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"As to what point that is, we'll wait and see and play it by ear."

Saints have been able to welcome three other England players back this week following the conclusion of the Guinness Six Nations.

Lewis Ludlam and David Ribbans both started in the defeat to Ireland in Dublin last Saturday, while Alex Mitchell came off the bench late on in that game.

But they will now focus their attentions on spearheading a top-four bid at Saints.

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"They've been excellent - they've all come back in really energised," Dowson said.

"Despite a tough result at the end there, they're very positive.

"We're very proud of them.

"As soon as you get those guys back in, you're having to leave out some very good players and have some tough conversations, which, in many ways, is a very positive thing."

George Furbank has been able to return to training following a mid-foot sprain picked up against Sale Sharks in January.

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And there is also positive news on Mike Haywood and Ollie Sleightholme, who have both been recovering from concussion.

"Mike's good, he's been training fully, and talking a lot, as usual," Dowson said.

"Ollie, we're taking a bit more time with but he's been back out training, running around, and not talking quite as much."