Northampton v Saracens preview: Saints lifted by Stephen Myler return for weekend's showdown

Northampton have struggled in the past month without their injured No 10 Stephen Myler

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The Independent Online

Suddenly feeling the heat as a long Premiership campaign reaches its business end and deprived of the services of their stricken captain Dylan Hartley, the long-time favourites Northampton were in dire need of some glad tidings as they began preparations for this weekend’s thorough examination at table-topping Saracens – just about their least favourite opponents, thanks to a series of public rows stretching back five years.

Happily for the Midlanders, Monday’s injury bulletin did the trick. Stephen Myler, their guiding light at No 10, has an even-money chance of making the trip to North London on Sunday.

Myler has not played since suffering a hamstring injury early last month and during his absence Northampton have suffered two costly league defeats and also missed out on the Anglo-Welsh title everyone expected them to win. As a consequence, their nearest and dearest from Leicester are eating up ground in the Premiership table and threatening to finish in the top two. If that happens, the Saints may well find themselves playing a semi-final at Welford Road, which would be a very different prospect to playing it on home soil at Franklin’s Gardens.

Pressed on Myler’s readiness for the Saracens game, the assistant coach Alan Dickens said the goal-kicking playmaker had been running in training and would, all being well, be available for selection. If things turn out for the best, Northampton will be deeply relieved.

With Hartley, the England hooker, off limits for the foreseeable future after suffering a nasty shoulder injury 10 days ago, and the Lions loose-head prop Alex Corbisiero still struggling with a long-term knee condition, they need all the heavy weaponry they can lay their hands on.

Newcastle have signed the former Leicester lock Calum Green on a two-year deal, starting in the summer. Green has been playing second-tier rugby with Leeds since 2012.