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Foden eyes successful Christmas

Ben Foden has urged Northampton to capitalise on a busy Christmas schedule of Aviva Premiership fixtures by cementing their place in the play-offs.

Saints will climb from sixth to third if they defeat Bath at Franklin's Gardens on Christmas Eve. Further victories over Newcastle on New Year's Eve and Harlequins a week later would give their title aspirations a major shot in the arm.

Foden knows that it is a critical period, and the England full-back said: "It is really tight at the top of the league at the moment. One win can put you into those top four positions but we need to string a couple of victories together so we can get some momentum, especially over this Christmas period."

He added: "We've got three important fixtures coming up so it is vital we produce some results."

Saints must focus all their attention on the Premiership after being knocked out of the Heineken Cup.

Even their 45-0 thrashing of Castres last Sunday has failed to ignite their hopes of progressing in Europe, but Foden insists it was an important result nonetheless.

"We were desperate to get things back on track last weekend," he said. "It took time to break down the Castres defence, but in the second half we started to play some decent rugby and hopefully we can carry that form into this weekend's game.

"We know that we have to focus our minds, work hard and play Northampton Saints rugby and once we get playing well, we are pretty much unstoppable.

"Being knocked out of the Heineken Cup has shown us that we need to go back to basics and that even the smallest mistakes can cost you in those games."

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