Dickson and Dowson set for Saints return against Dragons

BACK ON SAINTS DUTY - Phil Dowson (left) and Lee Dickson (Picture: Linda Dawson)

BACK ON SAINTS DUTY - Phil Dowson (left) and Lee Dickson (Picture: Linda Dawson)

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Saints boss Jim Mallinder says England duo Lee Dickson and Phil Dowson will both play a part in Sunday’s LV= Cup clash with Newport-Gwent Dragons.

And the director of rugby could also call on the services of Courtney Lawes after the lock, who has recovered from a knee injury, was sent back to Northampton by England.

Mallinder is eager to give Dickson and Dowson some game time ahead of next weekend’s Premiership match-up with London Welsh at Franklin’s Gardens.

Neither were in the Saints side which lost 31-30 to Harlequins in the LV= Cup last weekend.

Lawes also missed that game, but has since recovered from injury he picked up in the defeat to Saracens on October 27, though Mallinder remains cautious about throwing him straight back into the action.

“We want to get our players a playing again,” said Mallinder. “We’ve had a number of England players who haven’t played and we rested a number last week so they’ll come back into consideration.

“Courtney Lawes has been released by England but he hasn’t trained properly with the squad so we’ll wait and see how he is at the weekend.

“We don’t want to rush players back who have been out a number of weeks too early, but he’s making good improvements.

“We know we’ve got a good squad and the team we put out at the weekend will be competitive.”

And he added: “Lee will be involved this week, as will Phil Dowson.

“What you don’t want them to have is too many weeks off. It’s fine to have one week off but players need to play, so both of those players will be considered.”