Mallinder's side have two chances of Heineken Cup qualification
Northampton boss Jim Mallinder has targeted qualification for next season's Heineken Cup ahead of their final league match of the campaign.
Saints visit Sale on Saturday and could book their place in the competition by finishing seventh in the Premiership.
But Mallinder accepts they have a better chance of qualifying by winning the European Challenge Cup.
"Winning would guarantee a place but we want to finish as high as we can in the league," he told BBC Radio Northampton.
Mallinder added: "We've worked hard all season and don't want to just blow a few places now.
It's been a good year for us and I think we're still improving. We hope we can build on that next season
"We're expecting a tough test up at Sale but we're a good enough side to go there and win.
"It's been a good year for us and I think we're still improving. We hope we can build on that next season," he added.
Northampton are occupying seventh place going into the last round of matches, but are level on points with Wasps and just a point ahead of their European Challenge Cup semi-final opponents Saracens.
Seventh spot would only be good enough to qualify if the French club Bourgoin go on to win the Challenge Cup, the winners of which automatically secure a berth in the Heineken Cup.