Northampton Saints: Mallinder wants 80-minute performances

Northampton Saints against Newcastle Falcons
After dominating the first half against Newcastle, Saints "dropped off a little", according to Mallinder

Northampton boss Jim Mallinder says his side cannot afford to drift out of games against top Premiership teams.

Saints were slightly off the pace in the second half of a comfortable 35-10 win over Newcastle on Sunday and they next face in-form Bath.

"Our levels did drop off a little bit. It's something we probably need to improve on," said Mallinder.

"You know when you play against the top-four sides you can't fall asleep for 20 or 30 minutes."

The Premiership champions led 28-3 at half-time against the Falcons, but did not add to their tally - and secure a bonus point - until George North's converted try three minutes from time.

Saints v Bath
Bath have not won a Premiership game against Northampton in their last six attempts, with their last victory coming in February 2011.

Bath, meanwhile, were ruthless against Leicester Tigers on Saturday, making it three wins from three with a resounding 45-0 victory at The Rec.

Mallinder is hopeful England fly-half Stephen Myler will recover from a calf strain to feature against Mike Ford's men, but was pleased with the performance of understudy Will Hooley, who scored a try on the way to an 18-point haul.

"I'm very pleased with him. He's improving all the time. He's had a good pre-season," said Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton.

"Stephen Myler not being fit over pre-season (also with a calf injury) has allowed Will to get in there and play and that's how these players get better."

Hooley, 20, added: "Putting the 10 shirt on with the Saints crest on it is all I've wanted to do.

"I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but it really is. I just want to do myself proud and also the team proud."

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