Saints will be on the road for pre-season

The Sturtridge Pavilion is being demolished (picture: Dave Ikin)

The Sturtridge Pavilion is being demolished (picture: Dave Ikin)

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Tony Hewitt has confirmed Saints will play all of their pre-season games away from home due to the Franklin’s Gardens redevelopment.

And the club also appear likely to have to travel for their first home game of the season with the new Barwell Stand unlikely to be completed before the start of November.

The Sturtridge Pavilion is being torn down to make way for the fresh stand, which will take the capacity of the Gardens up to around 15,500.

But despite the fact the Premiership season will start late due to the Rugby World Cup, Saints will still need extra time to complete the Gardens.

Hewitt explained: “This season you can’t play a Premiership game until the quarter-finals of the World Cup, which is on the weekend of October 16, 17 and 18.

“What we’ll try to do here, because it’s a very tight building schedule to get this massive structure up in time, we’ll probably play our first (Premiership) game away from home.

“We’ve then got to make a decision where we play our second game, but the second home game will definitely be at Franklin’s Gardens.

“We’ll be able to use the seating but the corporate hospitality won’t be completed until the end of December or beginning of January.”

And he added: “Supporters have asked why we can’t just put a fence up at that end and play the game here, but the demolition also involves the control tower so we need to have an operating control tower for the safety certificate.

“This is the one end where the control tower is as well and that’s critical to us.”