Saints handed Clark boost but Day set to miss start of season
Saints have been boosted by the return to full training of flanker Calum Clark ahead of the start of the new season.
But there is some bad news with lock Christian Day set to miss the big kick-off after having an operation on a ruptured bicep.
Saints begin their Aviva Premiership campaign with a home game against Bath next Saturday (September 3).
And although Clark is unlikely to be available for that match, the fact he is back in full training is great news for Jim Mallinder’s men.
The 27-year-old did not play a competitive game last season after injuring his shoulder in a pre-season friendly at Wasps in October.
The 2014/15 players’ and supporters’ player of the season did manage to return to training, but suffered a setback, which required surgery.
He has been working his way back and will now be hopeful of a return to action in the not too distant future.
But neither Clark nor Day will make Saints’ final pre-season friendly, at Ulster on Friday night.
Tom Stephenson is also unavailable after the club announced that the centre had suffered a double leg break in last Saturday’s win against Rotherham Titans.
Stephenson confirmed the news himself via Twitter last Sunday and he has now started rehabilitation after undergoing a successful operation.
Saints will now focus on their game against Ulster in Belfast, which will be the final match before the start of the new season.
George North will not be available as he continues to return to the mix following a hamstring injury sustained during Wales’ summer tour of New Zealand.
But boss Mallinder is able to name a strong team to take on last season’s Pro 12 semi-finalists at the Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).
Saints team to face Ulster: Foden; K Pisi, Burrell, Mallinder, Tuala; Myler, Dickson; A Waller, Hartley, Brookes; Paterson, Craig; Wood (c), Gibson, Picamoles.
Replacements: Ma’afu, Haywood, Hill, Lawes, Onojaife, Marshall, Ludlum, Dickinson, Groom, Hanrahan, Packman, G Pisi, Estelles, Collins, Furbank.