Ben Foden is targeting Saints’ clash with Sale next Friday as he bids to return to action following an ankle ligament injury.
The full-back has missed the past nine Northampton games after limping off in the 18-14 win at Bath on September 14.
He required surgery on the injured ankle and has been forced to watch on as his side have slipped from the top of the Premiership table to fifth.
But Foden returned to training last week and though he is unlikely to be fit in time to face London Welsh this weekend, he could make his big comeback six days later against his former club.
“Hopefully we’re looking at the next couple of weeks,” said the England star. “Hopefully Sale away will be the return.
“It’s all about how it goes this week and how I cope with being reintroduced into the rugby side of things because I haven’t touched a ball for eight weeks.
“It’s just about getting back into the sway of things.
“It will be a good day (at Sale) as well and hopefully I’ll hit the ground running.”
Saints stopped the rot on Sunday with a 30-20 LV= Cup victory against Newport-Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.
Jim Mallinder’s men had lost their previous four games, and Foden admits he has been frustrated at his inability to help halt the slide.
“It’s been a bit frustrating,” he said.
“You want to be on the field and playing, especially when you get injured because there’s nothing to aim for at the weekends because there’s no matches because you’re not involved.
“It’s pretty frustrating and as well as Saints’ form dropping a bit, it’s been frustrating to watch from the sidelines.
“That’s the way of the world but I’ll get used to it.
“Hopefully I’ll come back better, stronger and hopefully I’ll be able to make a big difference when I come back into the set-up.”