Saints feeling positive - Mallinder
Jim Mallinder has warned Northampton they will need more than just the boot of fly-half Stephen Myler if they are to beat London Irish and close the gap on second-placed Saracens.
The Saints director of rugby was impressed with his side's character after they beat Sale 24-17 last weekend, with seven penalties from Myler and a Ryan Lamb drop-goal. But Mallinder insists they must improve on their accuracy and execution if they are to triumph at the Madejski Stadium.
"Last Saturday was an important win for us," said Mallinder. "As much as you'd like to win with style every week sometimes you have to grind out the result and grab your opportunities when you can. This is what we did last weekend and although we need the same again in terms of taking our chances, we will need to be much better in our all-round performance."
He added: "At times we tried to play too hard last weekend and didn't look after the ball, and we will have to control ourselves more.
"London Irish have a good home record this season, and with some powerful runners out wide like Jonathan Joseph and Sailosi Tagicakibau we will have to be alert defensively.
"They are very organised and in Tom Homer they have one of the best goal-kickers in Aviva Premiership rugby.
"But the spirit in training has been good this week and we are feeling positive ahead of the trip to Reading."
Mallinder has retained the same back division that beat Sale but made changes in the pack, with hooker Andy Long and prop Paul Doran-Jones starting in the front row.
Christian Day comes into the second row and Samu Manoa has switched to blindside flanker.