Tom May feels Saints showed their title credentials in the win at Bath on Friday night.
Jim Mallinder’s men scrapped their way to an 18-14 victory at the Recreation Ground to maintain their 100 per cent Premiership record.
It was another gritty win as they were pushed all the way by Bath, in similar circumstances to the opening two games, at Gloucester and at home to Exeter.
But the fact they have come through those games unscathed, May believes, shows Northampton are capable of competing for the league crown this season.
“It has been difficult,” said the 33-year-old, who was a second-half replacement at Bath, coming on for injured full-back Ben Foden. “We’ve worked really hard over pre-season, in our pre-season games and certain in the first couple of weeks.
“We’re moving in the right direction and I’d rather be playing the way we are now and winning than flying because there is still a long way to go.
“We can always get better, we can always improve on what we are doing, but four points is four points and it is vitally important that we go to places like Bath and win if we want to be challenging at the top of the league, which we all do.”
May landed a late drop goal to help Saints secure the victory at The Recreation Ground and they will now be looking to make it four from four when Worcester come calling on Saturday.
But the utility back, who could get more game time in the coming weeks due to Foden’s ankle problem, knows his side must improve their attacking game against the Warriors.
“Different teams will pose different problems,” he said. “We dealt with the one at Bath on Friday and we will be posed another set of problems next week by Worcester at home.
“We need to be able to come away with more points than at Bath whether we sit back in the pocket and take drop goals or grind out a penalty. But as long as we win then I’m not bothered.”