Win at Sandy Park would open door to top two for Saints

'Anything's possible'.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 20th March 2016, 7:00 am
Lee Dickson feels anything is still possible for Saints this season (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Lee Dickson feels anything is still possible for Saints this season (picture: Sharon Lucey)

That was Lee Dickson’s reply when asked whether Saints could just sneak into the Aviva Premiership top two by the time the season ends in May.

Earning a home play-off semi-final seemed like Mission Impossible six weeks ago, with Saints fretting over just securing a top-six spot.

But five wins later and Jim Mallinder’s men find themselves only nine points off second-placed Exeter Chiefs.

And with a game at the Chiefs to come today, Saints have a chance to narrow the gap even further.

“We’ve just got to take game by game and make sure we’re in with a chance at the end,” said Dickson.

“It’s difficult. Everyone’s fighting for a goal and we are as well. Home and away we’ve got to make sure we pick up points.

“It was vital for us to get five points last weekend. That extra point could be vital come May.”

Table-topping Saracens and Exeter will still be huge favourites to be hosting play-off matches in a couple of months’ time.

But Dickson said: “We love being underdogs.

“I think back to seven weeks ago when people were writing us off and thinking we were going to be a bottom of the table type team,, and we live on that.

“People will write us off, but we’ve got a tight group in that changing room and we’ll go about our business quietly and hopefully be in that top four come May.”

Saints will certainly be underdogs this weekend, with the Chiefs having made their Sandy Park home a citadel.

Northampton have lost their past two games at the venue, including enduring a gut-wrenching LV= Cup final defeat there back in March, 2014.

And Dickson recognises the importance of earning a much better result this weekend.

He said: “You can say every game is massive for us.

“One slip-up, one loss and you’re out of the top four again.

“Everywhere we go now, these next four or five weeks, leading up to the final games of the season, we have to win, we have to take points away from home.

“It starts this weekend, going down to Exeter.

“They’re the in-form team, especially down at Sandy Park. They’ve got a hell of a forward pack and exciting backs so it’s going to be a tough game.

“Recently, we’ve had quite a tough time down there, but we’ve got to make sure we front up.”

While they have lost at the likes of Worcester Warriors, London Irish and Newcastle Falcons this season, Saints have claimed big away wins at Bath, Harlequins and Saracens.

But Dickson said: “I don’t want to look backwards and I always want to look in the future.

“We’ve got ourselves out of a bit of a hole and these last six weeks have been really good for us.

“We’ve played some really good rugby, but we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves.

“We know what’s coming around the corner with Exeter and Quins and it’s going to be a tough two weeks now.”