Aviva Premiership
Tom Wood set for September return
ESPN Staff
July 7, 2012
England's Tom Wood grips the Six Nations trophy, Six Nations launch, Hurlingham Club, London, January 25, 2012
Tom Wood did not feature for England during the 2012 Six Nations © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Courtney Lawes | Jim Mallinder | Tom Wood
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations | Aviva Premiership

Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder hopes to have Tom Wood back in action by September.

The flanker's campaign last season was blighted by injury and he also missed England's tour to South Africa in June. But Mallinder hopes to have the openside - who was named in the EPS on Thursday - back in full training imminently and playing a part in the club's pre-season programme. With Calum Clark suspended for the start of the season and Roger Wilson moving to Ulster, Wood's return will hand a massive boost to the Saints.

"Tom Wood is improving," Mallinder told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. "He's really improving all the time. He's not yet got up to the stage of running on his foot but the toe is improving.

"He's been to see the specialist who is very positive and fingers crossed if everything goes to plan he will take part in some of the pre-season games in August and be fit for us in September.

"The root cause is a little bit genetic, I think that's simply what it is. In a rugby player like Tom Wood, who is big, athletic, strong and powerful, in some cases there is a lot of pressure going through your big toe, particularly in terms of scrummaging in that type of position.

"He's had a bit of a weakness there and hopefully with a little bit of a rest he won't have any more problems with it."

Mallinder has also received a boost with the news that Courtney Lawes looks set to be fit for the start of the season after recovering from his shin injury. The lock missed the majority of the second half of the campaign due to a knee injury before picking up the shin problem post Six Nations. But Mallinder claims that he will be "fully fit and ready to go in September".

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