Courtney Lawes feels Friday's win over Exeter proves that Northampton are not far from challenging for honours once again.

Lawes excited by Saints progress

Lawes excited by Saints progress

Saints slipped 13-0 behind early on in the contest but clawed their way back thanks to tries from George North and Rory Hutchinson.

Harry Mallinder held his nerve to kick the winning penalty with just a couple of minutes to go, as Northampton moved on to 11 points and up to sixth place in the Aviva Premiership table.

The Franklin's Gardens outfit won the title in the 2013-1014 campaign but finished fifth last term to miss out on the play-offs, but they have high hopes of pushing for the trophy again this term.

They have lost three times already this season but Lawes believes things are now starting to come together.

"We've had a few good performances on the trot now and we got unlucky in the last couple of weeks," he said.

"There's just little bits that aren't quite working for us at the minute, but the main thing is we came away with the win and there are lot of positives to take away.

"We got the win that we needed – we were desperate for that and I think it really showed out there today. We came back twice and we did brilliantly to get that win.

"There are just a few things to fix up and we'll be a great team again."

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