Saints after a big response

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Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder has been pleased with the reaction his players have shown this week.

And now he wants to see them finish the season strongly, starting with tomorrow’s visit of London Wasps.

The Saints missed out on lifting the LV= Cup last Sunday, and with the league table as close as ever with just five games to play Mallinder said that the team had to use the Sixways disappointment as motivation to secure an Aviva Premiership Rugby play-off spot.

“The dressing-room was a quiet place after last Sunday’s game, but I’ve been pleased with the reaction in training this week,” he said.

“The attitude has been very positive and everyone has put in plenty of effort to try and get a place in the team.

“Over the past few weeks the whole squad has played well, and with the internationals coming back selection decisions have been difficult. So everyone in the 23-man squad deserves their place and we are looking for a good performance tomorrow evening.

“Wasps will be tough opponents for us. Like ourselves they are fighting for every league point and it will be a challenging game.”

Lee Dickson will captain the side on his return from England duty and is joined by his national colleagues Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Phil Dowson in the starting line-up.

Dylan Hartley and Calum Clark are both suspended - Hartley pending a Six Nations hearing and Clark by his club ahead of his RFU disciplinary.

There are a just a couple of hundred tickets remaining for tomorrow evening’s game, which can be booked online now via www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/tickets

Saints: Foden, Ashton, Pisi, Downey, Diggin, Lamb, Dickson; Tonga’uiha, Long, Mujati, Craig, Day, Dowson, Wood, Wilson. Reps: McMillan, Waller, Doran-Jones, Sorenson, Harrison, Roberts, Myler, May.

Wasps: Southwell, Wallace, Daly, Waldouck, Haughton, Robinson, Berry; Payne, Lindsay, Broster, Cannon, Birkett, Launchbury, Poff, Jones. Reps: Korshunov, Taulafo, McIntyre, O’Donoghue, Hart, Davies, Davis, Emerick.