Boss Jim Mallinder has hailed the work Paul Diggin has done at Saints since suffering a long-term injury.
Diggin has not played since the Aviva Premiership defeat at Harlequins last season after injuring his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
That has given the Northampton stalwart the opportunity to work with some of the club’s younger players.
And Mallinder has nothing but praise for the job Diggin has done behind the scenes this season.
“He’s been very good while he’s been injured,” said the director of rugby. “He’s very good to have around and he’s been doing some very good work coaching for the academy.
“We’ve had the Under 18 tournament on and with Alan Dickens doing more of the work with the senior squad, he’s taken a real vital role there.
“He’s been working with Mark Hopley, coaching the Under 18 team and he’s done a brilliant job there.”
While Diggin has been doing invaluable work in the background, he will now be keen to get back into the action.
And Mallinder is expecting the 28-year-old, who recently returned to training, to be back in action before the end of the season.
He said: “Paul is nearing a return. We just need to check on it but he’s probably four to six weeks off still, even though he is now up and running.
“He looks close to full match fitness but it’s been a long injury. It’s an ACL, and you’ve got to really look at those injuries and make sure they are 100 per cent when they come back.
“He will be back before the end of the season.”