Bristol boss Lam predicts 'quality game' against Saints
Pat Lam is expecting 'a really quality game' when his Bristol Bears side come to Franklin's Gardens on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
The Bears are currently leading the way in the Gallagher Premiership, having lost just two of their 13 league games so far.
Lam's side secured a dramatic win against Saints back in December as Sam Bedlow's last-gasp penalty secured an 18-17 success.
And former Saints skipper Lam feels another enthralling encounter awaits in Northampton this weekend.
The Bristol boss said: “Fair play to Chris Boyd - I know him well, he’s a quality coach and they went through a bit of a slump, and he’s turned them around and he’s dealing with a lot of young players coming through and a lot of quality English players as well, and that was a great win they had against Sale - they should have beaten Bath the week before as well.
“They’ve had some really tough games, but Franklin’s Gardens is always a tough place to go.
"I believe it has the potential to be a really quality game, because it’s two teams on form."
Bristol have been dealing with a huge list of absentees of late, with key men such as Callum Sheedy and Semi Radradra unavailable to selection for the Bears.
But it hasn't hampered the Ashton Gate outfit, who have not lost since a defeat to Sale on February 5 and who beat Wasps 37-20 last time out.
“We were really pleased with the game last weekend against Wasps," said Lam, who saw influential full-back Charles Piutau added to the absentee list this week.
"Obviously, we knew the history there and to be able to achieve that win, in tough conditions, playing as a team and implementing a lot of the things we wanted to was pleasing.
“With the number of players unavailable, it’s great that guys have stepped up and added more competition to our squad going forwards to a crucial part of the season.
“We want the headache to be there around selection, but that’s only going to come if guys compete, even the guys who come back, they need to be at their best.
“What I’ve always said is that the strength of our team will come down to competition and guys pushing each other for selection to wear the jersey.”