Haywood set to make his long-awaited comeback as Saints face Worcester

Mike Haywood is ready to return for Saints on Saturday
Mike Haywood is ready to return for Saints on Saturday

Mike Haywood is set to make his first Saints appearance for almost a year after being named on the bench for Saturday's Gallagher Premiership game against Worcester Warriors (kick-off 2pm).

Haywood has not played since being forced off in the Premiership Rugby Cup match at Gloucester last November.

The hooker suffered a serious knee injury and was only able to play eight times last season, which was boss Chris Boyd's first at Saints.

But Haywood is now back to full fitness and he will hope to get some minutes as Saints look to secure their second win in as many league matches this season.

The last time they won their first two games in a campaign was in 2013/14, when they went on to win the Premiership and Challenge Cup, with Haywood starting in both of those finals.

The good injury news keeps coming for Saints this weekend as flanker Jamie Gibson has recovered from a shoulder injury and is named among the replacements.

Gibson will be making his first appearance of the season if he enters the action.

Teimana Harrison is fit to return from the chest injury that ruled him out of last Saturday's 27-25 win at Saracens and he is named at No.8.

That means Tom Wood shifts to six, with Alex Coles moving into the second row as last weekend's man of the match David Ribbans is on compassionate leave.

Taqele Naiyaravoro was a doubt for this weekend's game due to an ankle injury, which forced him off last Saturday, but he is fit enough to line up on the wing.

Paul Hill (foot) and Francois van Wyk (elbow) join Harry Mallinder (knee), Dylan Hartley (knee), Alex Mitchell (knee) and Reece Marshall (hamstring) on the injury list.

Former Saints prop Ethan Waller will start for Worcester, having made an appearance from the bench in the win against Leicester last weekend.

Waller swaps places with Callum Black, who is among the replacements.

Openside flanker Sam Lewis has recovered from a rib injury which ruled him out of the Leicester match and he starts in the back row.

Lewis fills the gap left by Marco Mama, who misses out having sustained a head knock in training which requires him to go through the return-to-play protocols.

Centre Ryan Mills will lead the side in Mama’s absence with club captain GJ van Velze, another former Saints player, again named as a replacement.

Lock Michael Fatialofa, who was a replacement against Leicester, comes into the starting line up as Warriors’ third change in a swap with Graham Kitchener, who is named on the bench this week.

Will Butler, Tom Dodd, Alex Hearle, Andrew Kitchener, Mama, Matt Moulds, Farai Mudariki and Nick Schonert are unavailable.

Saints: Furbank; Collins, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Naiyaravoro; Grayson, Taylor; Waller (c), Fish, Painter; Moon, Coles; Wood, Tonks, Harrison.
Replacements: Haywood, Franks, Garside, Bean, Gibson, Tupai, Symons, Sleightholme.

Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Humphreys, Beck, Mills (c), Nanai; Weir, Hougaard; Waller, Annett, Carey; Bresler, Fatialofa; Hill, Lewis, du Preez.
Replacements: Taufete'e, Black, Palframan, Kitchener, van Velze, Kitto, Lance, Venter.​