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Northampton Saints ‘must win’ clash with Leicester, says Michael Paterson

Northampton Saints’ trip to Leicester Tigers is a “must-win” game for the side, according to flanker Michael Paterson, who is set to play in his first East Midlands derby.

Paterson was part of the Saints side who conceded a late score against Newcastle Falcons on Friday.
Saints battled valiantly into a 16-15 lead with five minutes left on the clock, despite having prop Kieran Brookes sent off two minutes before half-time.

However, Saints’ hearts were broken late on as wing Niki Goneva crossed before Joel Hodgson kicked the extras.

Jim Mallinder’s side visit Welford Road on Saturday, and Paterson insists it will be lively affair, and a vital game for Northampton against their close rivals.

“It’s a must-win game for us, considering the manner in which we lost last week, which was bitterly disappointing,” he said.

“We have to keep our discipline for 80, maybe 85 minutes and play with 15 men on the field.

“We have to make sure we stay disciplined and everyone does their jobs. If we go there and upset a Tigers team, you never know what might happen.”

Paterson did not shy away from the significance of the fixture itself, a local derby and a notoriously feisty affair with Welford Road likely to be a cauldron of noise.

He said the nature of the fixture carries added weight for the players, and would not simply be just another game.

“Welford Road is a tough place to go, not many teams go there and get a win,” he said.

“It’s always going to be heated and confrontational, there’s definitely something extra in it.

“The atmosphere the Tigers supporters build and the away support we bring always helps as well.

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“There’s a big history and rivalry between us and big players on both sides who are fighting to get bragging rights.”

Paterson was frank about Saints’ league position, seventh, and recent inconsistent results, and has vowed the players and staff at the club are doing everything possible to put a run of wins together.

“It’s not going as well as would have liked so far, but that’s not to say we’re not trying hard in training and on the field,” he concluded.

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