Tom Vickers’ Northampton Saints v Newcastle Falcons preview: Mallinder’s men must maintain momentum

BACK IN THE GREEN, BLACK AND GOLD - England pair Lee Dickson and Ben Foden return to Saints duty this weekend
BACK IN THE GREEN, BLACK AND GOLD - England pair Lee Dickson and Ben Foden return to Saints duty this weekend

Saints will have their sights set on the ‘three ms’ in the next two weeks: Momentum, momentum, momentum.

Games against Premiership strugglers Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors represent a great chance to keep the steam train rolling right into the Heineken Cup.

Saints haven’t been derailed many times this season, winning eight of their 11 games and all of their past five.

It’s been quite a run, made more impressive by the constant chopping and changing of personnel due to injuries, international call-ups and the LV= Cup.

Saints sped to a 39-18 victory at London Irish last weekend to ensure morale is as high as ever upon the return of the England contingent.

And now those men will want to replicate what they asked the fringe players to do while they were away: Maintain momentum.

Newcastle were recently smashed by a Saracens side missing a number of key men and a win is the bare minimum for Northampton this weekend.

They have scored 23 tries in five home games, so a fourth home bonus point victory should not be ruled out.

Then it’s Worcester, a team who will be booted into shape by former Saints performance director Nick Johnston, but who have chugged along at a slow pace this season.

The Warriors have lost all seven of their league games this season and have been largely uninspiring.

So while the schedule brings pressure for Saints - they will be expected to comfortably pocket two wins from the next two games - it also brings an opportunity to maintain the trophy push.

Providing the Falcons and the Warriors don’t upset the apple cart, Jim Mallinder’s men will plough into Europe with seven successive wins under their belt.

And, boosted by the return of the likes of George North and Kahn Fotuali’i in the next few weeks, they should be firing come that mouthwatering Leinster showdown at Franklin’s Gardens on December 7.

Then, it’s destination Dublin.