Jim Mallinder admits losing James Wilson until late December is a ‘massive blow’ for Saints.
Wilson broke his arm in the Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final defeat to Saracens in May and has since suffered a setback in his recovery.
That means he will be ruled out for the first couple of months of the new campaign, which begins with a trip to newly-promoted Worcester Warriors on Friday night.
It is a real loss for Saints as Wilson has become a vital component of the team, covering full-back, wing, centre and fly-half, showing his class in each position.
But Mallinder is just relieved that he has the players available to compensate for the absence of the 32-year-old Kiwi.
“James Wilson won’t be available (for the start of the season),” Mallinder confirmed. “He had an operation during pre-season on his arm so he probably won’t be available until late December.
“It’s a massive blow. It happened in the semi-final out here.
“He had to go in and have it re-repaired, which was really unfortunate for him.
“He’s very frustrated, but his injury is an opportunity for other people.
“We’re fortunate that we’ve got Ben Foden back, Ahsee Tuala is playing well, so we’ve got options in that position.”