Northampton second-row Christian Day expects a tough assignment when his side take on Exeter at Franklin's Gardens on New Year's Day.
The Saints, who suffered a shock defeat to basement dwellers London Irish in their previous match, have a daunting task against their opponents who are currently second in the Premiership standings with six victories from their seven matches played.
“They’re a fantastic team," Day told the Northamptonshire Telegraph.
“They’ve developed over the past four or five years in the Premiership and they’re very much the real deal now.
“They were unlucky to miss out on top four last season and they’re top four now.
“We’ll have our work cut out against them but we’ve prepared well and we’re looking forward to it.”
Northampton suffered defeats to Exeter at home and away last season and Day is determined to take revenge this weekend.
“They beat us on our patch last year and they beat us at their place so they got one up on us and we need to put that right," he added.
“We’ll be looking to do that, as we do every week, and we don’t like to lose at home.
“We’ll be ready for the challenges that Exeter are going to bring.”