Relegation talk off the table, Saints boss Gaffney is targeting top four

Alan Gaffney, left, chats to Northampton forwards coach Dorian West. David Rogers/Getty Images

Alan Gaffney has insisted he is not thinking about relegation with Northampton, having instead suggested his new club could make a run at the Aviva Premiership top four.

Saints find themselves two places and 13 points above basement club London Irish with 10 games to go following a run of 12 defeats in 13 matches in all competitions.

That run cost Jim Mallinder his job as director of rugby last month, and the team's fragile confidence was on display at Twickenham last Saturday as they lost 50-21 to Harlequins.

However, Northampton remain just 15 points outside of the playoff places and Gaffney, 71, who officially began life as a technical coaching consultant at Franklin's Gardens Jan. 1, is confident his side could yet surge up the table.

"I am working on the basis that we are aiming for top four," Gaffney said. "We are not even contemplating anything else.

"It may be a big ask, but if they had won a couple of those games that had been reasonably close and all of a sudden you are challenging for top four.

"There's not a lot in it. I am not even thinking about that [relegation]. It is not on the agenda as far as we are concerned."