Alex King says England prop Alex Corbisiero remains on course for a return at the start of the new year.
Corbisiero has been out since September after suffering shoulder ligament damage in Saints’ win against Bath.
The 26-year-old was forced to have surgery on the problem, with Alex Waller once again stepping in to fill the void left by the former London Irish loosehead.
But Corbisiero is progressing well and King remains hopeful that he will be able to return in the not too distant future.
“He’s improving and going really well,” said the Saints attack coach. “He’s on schedule and we’ll hopefully see him back as soon as possible.
“It will be good to have him back as another option but we’re following the proper protocol and can’t give a definitive date as yet.”
No.8 Sam Dickinson is also making good progress as he recovers from the neck injury he sustained at the end of last season.
And King said: “Sam’s doing really well and he’s started to get involved in training.
“It’s always difficult when guys get long-term injuries, but he’s making good progress and hopefully we’ll have him back soon.”
But flanker Jon Fisher, who picked up a toe injury in the LV= Cup win at Scarlets earlier this month, looks likely to be sidelined for a big longer.
“Jon might be out for a bit longer than Sam,” said King. “He’s working hard to get back to fitness.”