Alex Sanderson believes Sale are clicking at the right time after they boosted their play-off hopes with a 31-22 win against Leicester last Friday.

The Sharks started the weekend in sixth but temporarily climbed to third following their fourth bonus-point win in a row, before ending the weekend in fourth.

Gus Warr, Tommy Taylor, Sam James and Tom O’Flaherty crossed for tries as Sharks’ bid to reach a second successive final continued to gather momentum.

Sanderson - who announced he has signed a new three-year contract as director of rugby - thinks it would be foolish to bet against his team, and singled out James for special praise in what is likely to be the departing full-back’s final home game.

Sale face Saracens on the final day of the league season this weekend.

“We just keep racking them up,” Sanderson said.

“We have one more next week to give us the opportunity to get into the semis. I can’t be prouder of this group, and for Sam to play as well as he did in his last game here with us was phenomenal.

“I am so delighted and privileged to be with this group. We have some momentum now and you would be stupid to bet against us.

“Good things happen all at once but great things take time, and our attack has been a slow burn. We knew at Christmas we needed to get bonus points, and since the Six Nations break we have had [George] Ford coming in.

“England’s attacking game has changed and we brought that into our game. Things are clicking at the right time. I would say it’s a masterplan but there is some fortune in there as well.

“We need a monumental effort next week. It will be fever pitch there next week, Saracens have some big players leaving as well. But the form we’re in, we’ll be going down there confident, with our eyes wide open, but we won’t come off that field - that plastic pitch - without firing some shots ourselves.”

Tigers, who are languishing in eighth, scored the first try through England prop Dan Cole but Sale hit back through Warr and Taylor, the latter while Leicester’s Ollie Hassell-Collins was in the sin bin.

Matt Scott nipped in for Leicester’s second try before James, who was visibly emotional at full time, crossed for Sale’s third. He then set up O’Flaherty for the fourth that effectively sealed it, despite a late consolation from Leicester’s George Martin.