No margin for error now, says Saints scrum-half James
Tom James is gearing up for an all or nothing run-in at Franklin's Gardens.
The scrum-half knows Saints have no margin for error in their final five Gallagher Premiership games.
Chris Boyd's side currently sit fifth in the standings, four points behind fourth-placed Harlequins and five adrift of third-placed Sale Sharks.
All three teams have tricky run-ins and all three will have this weekend off as they are out of Europe.
Saints' next game comes at home to Gloucester on Saturday, May 8.
And James said: "We spoke in the week about how basically every game from now is a must-win.
“There are no easy games in the Premiership anyway but we’re pretty much playing knock-out rugby every week now to try to make the top four, so we can’t afford to slip up in any game.
“We’ve having a week off now. It's been a long old slog, there’s not been too many weeks off this year so I think everyone will enjoy putting their feet up for a bit but then we’ll get straight back to it.”
James got an earlier than expected taste of an east midlands derby at Welford Road last Saturday as he was propelled into first-half action following an injury to Alex Mitchell.
He went on to help Saints secure a 23-18 win at the home of their local rivals.
And James, who moved to Northampton from Doncaster Knights last summer, said: "We’re pretty over the moon with that.
“We spoke all week about how special it is to come here and win; and not many of the lads had done that, so to win a derby game against Leicester, we’re over the moon.
“Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy in terms of our discipline, and giving away some silly penalties, which gave them some field position.
"But you have to give (Tigers) credit, they’re a very good side with some very good players who are always going to put pressure on you.
“It was never going to be a game where we ran away with it, it was always going to be pretty tough right until the end.”
The 27-year-old added: "It’s definitely right up there in terms of the most intense games I’ve played in.
“They’ve got a pretty big pack and some pretty tough ball carriers so we knew it was going to be a really physical game and we had to try to match that.
"At times we matched that really well but at other times we let the pressure mount on ourselves by not being quite physical enough but luckily we got over the line in the end.
“We were obviously under the pump at the end there but every time we were able to have a little huddle or were able to speak to each other, we were able to tell each other to back
ourselves and really concentrate.
“We knew we were good enough to hold them out, it was just a case of really focusing and concentrating and being physical enough to keep them out at the end.”