Saints boss Mallinder is a Diamond, says Sale’s Steve

Steve Diamond has backed Saints boss Jim Mallinder (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Steve Diamond has backed Saints boss Jim Mallinder (picture: Sharon Lucey)

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Steve Diamond has backed ‘great bloke’ Jim Mallinder and urged Saints not to push the panic button.

Diamond’s Sale Sharks side head to Franklin’s Gardens to face Mallinder’s Saints on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).

Both teams are stuggling for form, with the Sharks having lost their past six games in all competitions and Saints’ their past four.

But Diamond believes Mallinder, who has been director of rugby at the Gardens since 2007, should be given more time to turn things around.

“I don’t believe any rumours that he’s lost the changing room - he’s not that sort of guy,” said Diamond, who has worked with Mallinder at Sale and Saints.

“He’s got a team that hasn’t functioned in three or four games but if they pull one or two wins off, they’re fifth in the league and pushing.

“Northampton have got to take stock of what a great bloke they’ve got there and not push the panic button.”

Both Saints and Sale will be desperate to claim some precious Aviva Premiership points at the Gardens this week.

Saints are currently ninth in the standings, having won just four of their 10 league games so far, while Sale are 10th, winning one match fewer.

And Diamond said: “You’ve got two teams coming together with no form on Friday night, so whoever turns up and plays well will win the game.

“We’ve just got to look at it as a game of rugby, whoever can click on the night will win the game.

“What I’ve done is try to keep some consistency and experience in the team, and the young lads have come in and done a brilliant job, but in these tough games, we need to get points.”