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Last Updated: Monday, 9 April 2007, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Saints will not give up - Grayson
Northampton coach Paul Grayson
Grayson signed a five-year contract in May 2006
Northampton coach Paul Grayson admits their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premiership are slim but insists they will fight until the bitter end.

Sunday's 16-7 loss to Newcastle left Saints bottom of the table, two points behind Worcester, with two games left.

"Realistically, we need Worcester to make a mistake and we need to take advantage of it," he told Five Live.

"We won't give up. Whilst we are still alive we'll keep fighting until it's mathematically impossible to stay up."

In 13 years as a player at the club, Grayson shared in the glory of winning the Heineken Cup in 2000, and also the near-miss of escaping relegation on the last day of the 2004-05 season.

We had an opportunity to put the pressure back on Worcester, but we didn't take it

Paul Grayson
This term, he has been in exclusive charge of the team since director of rugby Budge Pountney stepped down in November.

But despite the array of talent in an injury-ravaged squad, Grayson has not been able to guide them away from the drop zone.

Worcester's loss at Bristol handed Saints some hope but defeat at Newcastle left them needing at least one win from their two remaining games - at Wasps on Sunday, and a final-day home fixture against London Irish on 28 April.

"We had an opportunity to put ourselves above Worcester and put the pressure back on them, but we didn't take it," Grayson added.

"But there's no point beating ourselves up about it. It's done and dusted, we need to put it behind us."

In between their final two league games, Saints have the small matter of a Heineken Cup semi-final against Wasps to occupy them too.

We can go to London Irish and know we have a chance of winning

Worcester coach John Brain
"In all honesty it's a game we could do without, but we're committed to the competition so we'll give it our best," Grayson said.

"It's been a tough enough season, so nothing surprises me now."

Worcester's only concern is the Premiership, with an away game at London Irish this Sunday followed by the visit of Saracens to Sixways on the final day of the regular season.

"There were a lot of positives and we are not that far away," Warriors director of rugby John Brain said after Saturday's defeat to Bristol.

"We can go to London Irish next week and know we will be in the mix, know that we will have a competitive chance of winning that game."

Their survival prospects have also improved with the return of captain Pat Sanderson, who returned against Bristol after two games out with a broken hand.

"We can't afford to dwell on what the result was and what might have been," Sanderson said.

"We lost a tight game but it was not a car crash for us. We've got two games to go and we have to keep fighting, that is exactly what we will do."

SEE ALSO
Newcastle 16-7 Northampton
08 Apr 07 |  English
Bristol 22-17 Worcester
07 Apr 07 |  English
Biarritz 6-7 Northampton
01 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Saints on the brink
28 Mar 07 |  Northampton
Rodber linked with Saints return
16 Dec 06 |  Northampton
Pountney makes early Saints exit
30 Nov 06 |  Northampton


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