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Tom Vickers’ Saints v Gloucester preview: Time to bring back the feelgood factor

BIG CHANCE - Luther Burrell has been handed an opportunity to show his worth against Gloucester this weekend (pictures: Linda Dawson)

BIG CHANCE - Luther Burrell has been handed an opportunity to show his worth against Gloucester this weekend (pictures: Linda Dawson)

Saints have excited their fans off the pitch this week – now they need to excite them on it.

The signing of Kahn Fotuali’i - regarded as one of the world’s best scrum-halves - from Ospreys has whetted the appetite of the Northampton faithful ahead of the new season.

The Samoan will join England prop Alex Corbisiero and highly-rated coach Alex King at Franklin’s Gardens next season. So there is clearly much to look forward to.

But in the here and now, Saints need to give their fans something to shout about at the Gardens on Saturday.

Jim Mallinder’s men have gone three games without scoring a try on their own turf – and that drought simply has to end this weekend.

The LV= Cup is traditionally a competition Saints do well in, and it’s one they should be looking to experiment in.

The fact Mallinder has named the likes of Ben Foden, James Wilson and Samu Manoa in his starting line-up for this weekend shows how seriously he’s taking the tournament.

And it also gives him a chance to take another look at the likes of Luther Burrell and Rhys Oakley as well as assessing a few different combinations.

It’s an exciting mix of first team regulars and fringe players, and hopefully one which can provide a few fireworks.

The selection of Ryan Lamb, in particular, who came off the bench to great effect at Glasgow last weekend, is a welcome one when it comes to attacking intent.

Mallinder has already admitted this week that he understands the frustrations of the Saints fans at the lack of bang they’re receiving for their buck this season.

Let’s be honest, some of the home games have been hard to watch, but in the team’s defence they have come up against full strength, elite level sides.

This weekend’s game, against a Gloucester outfit missing their main men, is the perfect opportunity to bring back the feelgood factor to the Gardens.

It’s a great chance to get the supporters off their seats and put one foot in the semi-final of a domestic competition.

So let’s hope the excitement created by the signing of a world class Samoan extends into and past Saturday afternoon.

 

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