Michael Paterson knows better than most how hard it is to face Sale Sharks away from home, but the Northampton Saints lock is confident his side can get a result at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday night.
Paterson played for Sale for two seasons prior to joining Northampton, but returns to the north west as the Saints chase a second consecutive victory following last weekend’s 24-14 win against Worcester Warriors.
Mike Haywood grabbed two tries as the Saints earned their first Aviva Premiership Rugby win since early January, in a result which sees Jim Mallinder’s side sixth in the table.
Sale lost to Saracens 29-18 last weekend but impressed at Allianz Park – and Paterson expects them to provide a stern test this weekend as his side chase fourth-placed Bath Rugby nine points ahead.
— Michael Paterson (@pato_mjsp) February 25, 2017
“It is a tough place to play, they pride themselves on their home form at the AJ Bell Stadium. They have a good home record and are a team which is improving all the time,” he said.
“We cannot take it lightly. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and have some great friends at Sale, but I want to get the win and climb up the table.
“Anything can happen on its day – look at Bristol beating Bath – so we just need to keep going and you never know what can happen between now and the end of the season.
“Bath are nine points clear but we still feel we have a chance.”
Heading into last weekend’s clash with Worcester the Saints had lost back-to-back games, which stalled their progress after an impressive run of form.
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— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) February 28, 2017
Paterson believes their 46-31 loss to Newcastle Falcons was something of a wake-up call and now hopes they can kick on for the rest of the campaign.
“It is good to come home and repay the faith to the supporters who follow us through thick and thin. We were delighted with the win but we know we have loads to improve on,” he added.
“It is a work in progress and we need to make sure when we have the ball we look after it and make the right decisions in the right areas of the field and apply pressure on the opposition.
“The Newcastle game was not a pleasant day for the boys, we started off well but they are good at home and came back strongly.
“But we came back against Worcester and it has been a happier place this week, when you win it makes your week far more enjoyable.
“Our Sunday was a lot better last week after the win.”