BATH will resume Aviva Premiership business on Friday with a top-three place in their sights.

Victory over Recreation Ground visitors Northampton would take them third behind leaders Exeter and second-placed Saracens.

And Bath rugby director Todd Blackadder has been pleased with recent form, which included his players clinching an Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final place.

"It feels like we've turned a wee bit of a corner," Blackadder said, following three successive wins in all competitions.

"We haven't walked the walk yet, but it feels good. It feels like we've got our energy back.

"I think the festive period was like the fester period for us. We just did not perform well at all.

"It took time to get our clarity, but the players look like they've been re-energised, and I feel like we are ready to explode now.

"I think there is an exciting period ahead of us."

Centre Will Hurrell will make his Premiership debut for Bath, being partnered by Ben Tapuai in midfield, while full-back James Wilson lines up against his former club.

Elsewhere, Freddie Burns and Kahn Fotuali'i forge Bath's half-back combination in a team captained by flanker Matt Garvey.

Northampton show four changes from the side that beat Harlequins in Anglo-Welsh Cup action last Friday, with Tom Wood, Rob Horne, Ben Foden and Campese Ma'afu all returning to Saints' starting line-up. Lock Christian Day skippers the side.

Saints beat Bath comfortably at Franklin's Gardens earlier this season, and Blackadder said: "Saints haven't really changed what they do since then. They are just doing things better.

"We are really excited. We are at home, and we want to play some fantastic rugby.

"We've got a really good opportunity. There is a little bit of an edge among the guys.

"We know what it's like to slip up in the league, and we don't want to be that team."

Bath: 15. James Wilson, 14. Matt Banahan, 13. Will Hurrell, 12. Ben Tapuai, 11. Aled Brew, 10. Freddie Burns, 9. Kahn Fotuali’i, 1. Lucas Noguera, 2. Tom Dunn, 3. Max Lahiff, 4. Elliott Stooke, 5. Charlie Ewels, 6. Matt Garvey (c), 7. Paul Grant, 8. James Phillips.

Replacements: 16. Ross Batty, 17. Nick Auterac, 18. Henry Thomas, 19. Luke Charteris, 20. Josh Bayliss, 21. Chris Cook, 22. Josh Lewis, 23. Darren Atkins.