Centre Matt Proctor insists Northampton Saints have their sights set firmly on a top-four spot after claiming the East Midlands bragging rights in the 23-18 victory over Leicester Tigers last weekend.
With just five rounds of the Gallagher Premiership left to play, Saints sit in fifth position, just four points away from the play-off places.
But with competition for a spot in the top four rife, Chris Boyd’s men must keep their foot on the gas if they are to reach the semi-finals at the end of the season.
And despite a nerve-wracking end to last weekend’s clash with Tigers, Proctor insists that the improvement that Northampton have shown throughout the season has put them in a good place heading into the final run-in.
“We kind of made it hard for ourselves at the end of that game,” Proctor said.
“We did a lot of stuff that could have meant we potentially lost the game but I think that shows how far we’ve come as a team, to be able to give them that much opportunity and still hold them out.
“But that’s the beauty of a Derby, isn’t it? Both teams played right until the end and it turned out to be a good game.
“We’ve come a long way this season in terms of our defence, we’ve been working on it a lot.”Matt Proctor
“It’s never easy when you lose some boys to the bin but as a team we were still confident we could still hold them out.
“We were still backing ourselves at the end, it was just a matter of holding our discipline and not giving them easy outs and we ended up doing that and getting a couple of big turnovers so we were pleased.”
But for Proctor and the rest of the Saints side, there’s only one goal in mind when it comes to how they want the Premiership table to look come the end of the season, and that’s a top-four finish.
He added: “That’s obviously our big goal for the season, to be there or thereabouts at the end in terms of play-offs.
“We’re still holding that fifth spot, but that’s our out and out goal from here on out to be in that top four at the end of the season. So a win [against Leicester] is massive for us.
“We’ve got a week off to try to put the feet up a little bit and come back in fresh for Gloucester at home.
“It’ll be another couple of huge games for us if we want to continue pushing to get into that top four.”