Saints boss Mallinder welcomes selection headache

Jim Mallinder admits he faces some difficult decisions in selecting his Saints side to face Ulster on Friday.

International stars Ben Foden, Dylan Hartley and George Pisi were all back to inspire Northampton to a 27-16 victory at Sale last weekend.

GLORY BOYS - Tom Wood (back row, left) and Courtney Lawes (back row, right) celebrate England's win over New Zealand last week

GLORY BOYS - Tom Wood (back row, left) and Courtney Lawes (back row, right) celebrate England's win over New Zealand last week

While Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes will also join the mix for this week’s Heineken Cup showdown after returning from England duty.

It is the first time this season that Mallinder will have all of his England internationals fit and available.

And the director of rugby admits he has something of a selection headache for the pool 4 game, which Saints will be desperate to win ahead of the trip to Belfast eight days later.

“It’s interesting,” said Mallinder. “November’s difficult with players being away, England internationals and non-England internationals, and we had a number of injuries.

“But now the injured players are coming back a little bit. We’ve still got a few but not as many as before.

“It’s given us some difficult selection decisions but that’s exactly what you want and what you need when you’re coming up against a quality side like Ulster.”

Lee Dickson could also return to the starting line-up after coming off the bench during the second half of last Friday’s success in Salford.

But Christian Day, James Wilson and Paul Diggin remain on the sidelines for the clash with an Ulster side who have won all 12 of their games in all competitions this season.