Dickens: Settled squad is making Saints’ pre-season preparations easier

Alan Dickens admits Saints’ preparations for the new season are being made easier by the lack of player turnover in the squad.

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 10th July 2014, 7:00 am
Alan Dickens
Alan Dickens

Northampton have opted to stick with the men who served them so well last season, with just one fresh face being brought in, in the shape of ex-Newcastle scrum-half Joel Hodgson.

The likes of GJ van Velze, who has moved to Worcester, and Fa’atoina Autagavaia have departed, but there has been far less transition than this time last year.

And that, Dickens says, has been a good thing, with the majority of the squad, barring the international players, having returned to training at Franklin’s Gardens on Monday.

“We’re in a fortunate position that we’ve got a good squad,” said the assistant coach.

“We’ve got some good players in that squad.

“Not many people have come in, but we’ve got Joel and some new Academy boys and we’re in a good position.”

Despite Saints being comfortable with the squad that won them both the Amlin Challenge Cup and Aviva Premiership last season, they are refusing to rest easy.

Instead, Dickens is adamant that the appetite for success will be just as strong in the forthcoming campaign.

“We’re not resting on our laurels,” he said.

“We’ve got Alex Corbisiero in training and he gives it everything. Calum Clark gives it everything, Phil Dowson and others.

“They set the tone for the first few weeks and it filters through the squad.

“They’re all working hard and they’ve obviously all got the goal that seems a long way away in July, which is still being in competitions during May.”