Boss Mallinder prepared to bolster to Saints squad

Jim Mallinder says he will consider adding to his Saints squad if the fringe players and youngsters struggle to perform.

Mallinder is without a host of first-choice players, with the likes of Ben Foden, Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes all missing.

IN THE MARKET - Saints boss Jim Mallinder is prepared to add to his squad if needed

IN THE MARKET - Saints boss Jim Mallinder is prepared to add to his squad if needed

The director of rugby takes his side to Welford Road to face old rivals Leicester Tigers on Saturday with his squad stretched to the limit.

Jamie Elliott starts on the wing and Mike Haywood is at hooker in the absence of Hartley, giving the youngsters a great chance to prove himself.

And while the emphasis is on giving Elliott, Haywood and other youngsters an opportunity to develop, Mallinder won’t rule out bringing in reinforcements if needed.

“You’ve got to look at it, particularly if you’ve got key injuries in a lot of positions,” he said. “Full-back is a good example where we’ve lost four full-backs if you include Stephen Myler, to injury.

“We’ve got to look at our academy, look at the squad and see if those players are good enough and capable and ready to come into the team and if not what you sometimes have to do is look around.

“But we’re confident at the moment that our squad members are all good enough to come in and do a job. If they’re not, it’s pointless having them there anyway.”

With so many experienced heads either on international duty or on the sidelines, Mallinder will look to certain players to provide leadership in the white-hot surroundings of Welford Road.

The return of Calum Clark from a 32-week ban and Phil Dowson’s release from the England squad have boosted the Saints ahead of the east midlands battle.

And Mallinder knows just how important the presence of those two players, who have captained the team to good effect in the past, will be.

“You need as many leaders as you possibly can have in the team,” he said. “We know Dylan Hartley is our skipper so it’s unfortunate he’s not playing but he wasn’t going to play anyway because of the England regulations.

“We’ve got to trust and rely on the other players and having Cal with Dowson are two really good players who have got good leadership qualities.”