Saints have suffered an injury blow with the news that Calum Clark will be out for at least a few weeks with a knee injury.
Clark sustained the problem during the first half of the 60-13 Champions Cup defeat to Leinster in Dublin on December 17.
He was replaced by Ben Nutley and did not play any part in last Friday’s 24-5 Aviva Premiership success against Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens.
And Clark will now miss the start of 2017, adding more injury woe after he was sidelined for the entirety of last season with a shoulder problem.
The flanker, who was Saints’ supporters and players’ player of the year for 2014/15, had made a successful return to the first team in the September 30 win against Exeter Chiefs.
He has played six games so far this season, but will now be in recovery mode once again.
“Calum Clark will be a few more weeks away,” said Saints boss Jim Mallinder.
“He’s sustained quite a bad knee injury so he will be out for a few weeks.”
Saints were also without the likes of Lee Dickson, George North, Jamie Elliott and Ahsee Tuala last Friday.
But Mallinder said: “There’s a possibility we might have some of our injured backs back this weekend.”