WORCESTER Warriors and Northampton Saints face off on Friday evening in a crucial Premiership game for both sides for polar opposite reasons.

Had this been any other season, Warriors would be nervously looking over their shoulder at the prospect of relegation and with five defeats in a row the odds would have been shortening by the day.

As it is, Saracens’ punishment for breaching salary cap regulations means that the only pressure on Warriors this season is self-driven.

On the other hand, Saints are also struggling, having fallen to fourth in recent weeks after four defeats on the bounce leaving them nine points off Exeter at the top.

Saints’ downfall seems to have coincided with the Six Nations players being away on international duty.

Dan Biggar, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam (in the Northampton squad on Friday) and George Furbank have all had periods away and they are big players for Saints.

Top four will be the minimum requirement for the Franklin's Gardens club given the start to the season they had and their undoubted quality.

Playing a Warriors side who cannot seem to win at the minute, they have to be fancying their chances.

A win would take them back up to second temporarily and after such a poor run all of a sudden things will be looking a whole lot better.

As for the hosts, this has an air of ‘must-win’ about it.

Against a side also struggling for confidence, Warriors have to think this is a golden opportunity to start turning the narrow defeats into wins.

Boss Alan Solomons has said that fans need to “keep the faith” with the side. Yes, supporters should always back their side through any adversity but frustrations are naturally high following the recent run.

Worcester have come within six points or less in each of their last four Gallagher Premiership games which suggests they are good enough to beat those teams but there seems to be something missing and it is causing some worries.

Discipline and a lack of cutting edge appear to be the main issues and in this league you will get punished time and time again if you give away too many penalties and don’t take your chances.

Back to Sixways for the clash on Friday night and home fixtures are always crucial in sport but when results aren’t going your way you need the backing to get you over the line.

A sixth straight defeat would definitely test patience among the Sixways faithful and while relegation isn’t a worry any more this is a very big game for the club and the coaches.

Both sets of players will be wanting to gain a confidence-boosting win that would lift the doom and gloom that seems to have developed.