Dickinson set to return for Saints
Sam Dickinson is back in training and in contention for a return to Saints action.
The No.8 suffered a knee injury in the win at Worcester Warriors on November 18 and has not played since.
But he is now closing in on a comeback, which will be a big boost for Saints with back rowers Tom Wood, Teimana Harrison and Louis Picamoles now on international duty.
Saints assistant coach Alan Dickens said: “Sam’s good.
“He’s trained the back end of last week and he’s trained this week so he’s put his hand up and is in contention.
“With international call-ups - Louis Picamoles, Tom Wood and Teimana Harrison away - it’s an area we need boys back and fighting to get into the starting team.”
More positive news comes in the form of centre Tom Stephenson, who is hoping to return to action in the next few weeks.
Stephenson suffered a leg break in the friendly against Rotherham Titans at Franklin’s Gardens back in August.
It was feared that he could miss the entire season, but the 22-year-old believes he will be back in action ahead of schedule.
“His chat is pretty positive,” Dickens said.
“He’s looking forward to getting back and he’s pushing himself to get back as soon as he can.
“Hopefully the end (of his recovery) is in sight.”
Saints face an east midlands derby at Leicester Tigers in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday.
And Dickens said: “You don’t really need to say much when it’s derby day.
“Whether we’re playing at the Gardens or at Welford Road, it’s going to be a fiery affair and one that the players look forward to.
“I know that it was 2007 the last time we won there and every time we go up there Mark Hopley reminds me that he made 28 tackles that day.
“It’s a tough place to go and win, but we’ll go there, focus on ourselves and on our performance.”