LEE DICKSON says Saints don’t need to change too much as they bid to end their search for major silverware this season.
Jim Mallinder’s men have reached three Premiership play-off semi-finals and a Heineken Cup final in the past three campaigns.
But they have failed to convert seasons of toil into trophies and the top two competitions continue to elude them.
Dickson isn’t fazed, though, and he can’t wait for the new season to start so that Saints can show their steel.
The club start their pre-season campaign next Friday with a game against Italian minnows Zebre in the south of France, with the big Premiership kick-off at Gloucester on September 1.
“I don’t think there’s much different we need to do,” said Dickson. “We just need to start the season well.
“Last season was quite difficult at the start of the season, losing a lot of players to England and then there were a few injuries so the start of the season is massively key to us.
“Pre-season has gone really well, the energy is really good and we’re all buzzing, wanting to get this first pre-season game done and then the next one and the next one and really focusing on the Gloucester game.
“We’re going to take each game as it comes and we’re already targeting a home semi-final. We need to be in that top four.
“You come to a club like Northampton and you want to win stuff. We’ve been devastated in the past three years to lose in the semis so we’ve really got to push hard this year and all our focus has got to be on winning a major trophy.”
Saints were languishing in the lower reaches of the Premiership after the first few games of last season as World Cup call-ups struck.
But Dickson and Co won’t have that obstacle to overcome this time round and the England scrum-half knows they must capitalise early on before the autumn internationals and Six Nations.
“The start’s massively important,” he said. “You’ve got to start well, you’ve got to win the first few games.
“You’ve got to get wins on the board to start your season off because come Christmas time it’s a hard time of the season and at the end of the campaign everyone’s fighting for places.
“We’ve got to focus and go hard at every game.”