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South Africa tour 2012 / News
Aviva Premiership
Wood pencilled in for season start
ESPN Staff
August 7, 2012
Northampton flanker Tom Wood, Northampton v Newcastle, Aviva Premiership, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England, October 30, 2010
Tom Wood looks set to be fit for the start of the season © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Jim Mallinder | Tom Wood
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership

Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder has tipped England flanker Tom Wood to be fit in time for their season opener against Gloucester on September 1.

Wood struggled for fitness throughout last season and missed the Six Nations and England's tour to South Africa in June. But with Calum Clark suspended and Roger Wilson moving to Ulster, the news of Wood's return to fitness will buoy Mallinder. But the good news regarding Wood is not emulated by Courtney Lawes.

The England second-row has suffered a dislocated elbow and Mallinder expects him to return to the side by October. Speaking about Lawes and Wood, Mallinder told the BBC: "They're both making massive progress. I'd like to think that [for the Gloucester match], Tom will be 100% fit.

"It was massively unfortunate regarding Courtney. He was coming good with his shin problem and getting back to full fitness. He had a little accident [whilst] wrestling and dislocated his elbow. He probably won't make the beginning of the season but we'd expect him to be back by late September or early October."

With the Saints yesterday confirming that they will not be following up their deal for Cameron Shepherd, Mallinder has revealed that they are unlikely to act quickly to bolster their squad.

"Not before the start of the season," Mallinder said. "We're keeping our eyes open [for] a couple of positions and we've got a little bit left in the salary cap but we'll wait and see how the squad are. We've got no gaps in our squad, we're very happy with it and looking forward to the start."

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