The Saints have won three of their last four meetings with London Irish, but have lost on their last three visits to Madejski Stadium.
London Irish need to win to give themselves any hope of reaching the last four in the Guinness Premiership. The Exiles’ form has deserted them of late with a run which has brought them just 16 league points from their last ten games.
Northampton have already qualified for the last four in the Guinness Premiership playoffs, where they will meet Saracens. The Saints, however, need to win this game to ensure that the semi-final will be played at Franklin’s Gardens (less if Saracens drop any points at Leicester).