Christian Day has warned Saints they must not give Sale Sharks a chance to impose themselves on the game at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.
Day saw his team suffer at the AJ Bell Stadium for the third year in succession as they slumped to a 20-13 defeat back in November.
Jim Mallinder’s men never really stamped their mark on that game, as they didn’t when losing at Sale during the previous two campaigns.
But Northampton have had no trouble stamping their authority on the Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens in recent seasons.
In fact, Saints have not lost a home game to Sale since May, 2006, when the Sharks won 36-34 on their way to winning the Premiership title later that month.
This weekend though, Steve Diamond’s men will come to the Gardens with more confidence than ever, with hopes of a top-four spot alive and kicking.
The men from Greater Manchester are just three points behind fifth-placed Saints and have a game in hand.
They have lost just once in 2016, with the February 20 defeat at Worcester the only blot on their copybook.
And lock Day, who pocketed a Premiership winners medal with Sale as a 22-year-old 10 years ago, said: “They’re a good team.
“They’ve drawn with Saracens and beaten the rest of the top four since Christmas so we know they’re a good team and they’re coming here to win.
“They’ve been difficult for us during the past few years, particularly at their place.
“They’re big, heavy and if we play to our potential we can win, but we need to take them seriously, which is what we’ve been saying all week.”
On that defeat at Sale earlier in the season, Day said: “We didn’t play very well in the first half and if you give them the chance to impose themselves they will do.
“We don’t want to do that this weekend.”
Day has missed the past two weeks, having been rested for the win against Worcester and seeing a ‘niggle’ keep him out of last weekend’s superb 20-15 win at Saracens.
But he is ready to square up to his old side on Saturday, feeling fresh ahead of the run-in, which includes games against Exeter, Wasps, Harlequins and Leicester Tigers.
“I’d played 23 games in a row so it was time for a rest anyway,” Day said.
“I was never going to play against Worcester, but I had a niggle before the Saracens game so had to wait another week.
“I’m freshened up and ready for the run-in now.
“There’s probably about eight teams who can make the top four.
“No one’s really talking about Sale, but they’ve got a game in hand and they’re looking good so we need to make sure we win this weekend.
“All we can do is keep winning our games and hopefully end up in that top four, which is the goal every year.”