Brewer targets top six
Sale head coach Mike Brewer has targeted a top-six finish and Heineken Cup qualification ahead of the new Aviva Premiership campaign.
The Sharks were crowned Premiership champions in 2006 but their steady fall from grace saw them flirt with the disastrous prospect of relegation last season.
But new boss Brewer has steadied the ship and presided over a major overhaul of his squad during the summer, saying: "Our objective for the season is to finish in the top six and that's based on qualifying for the Heineken Cup."
He added: "If you're playing rugby union in Europe, then you've got to be playing in the Heineken Cup as far as revenue streams, crowds and the opposition you are coming up against are concerned.
"Players want to come up against the likes of Toulouse, Munster and Leicester.
"I'm not happy, but I'm comfortable with being in the Amlin Challenge Cup this year.
"We're a new squad and the focus this year is on the Premiership, although the likes of our England boys Charlie Hodgson, Mark Cueto and Andrew Sheridan don't want to be out of Europe's top competition for too long.
"They want to playing against the big boys."