The expansion of rugby side Northampton Saints' stadium is set to begin by 2014, according to club officials.

Proposals will also see a new Asda supermarket being built within the site of the Aviva Premiership club's increased-capacity stadium. The plans, which went on public display last week, show that the Sturtridge Pavilion at Franklin's Gardens will be torn down to make way for a brand new stand which will be capable of holding 1,900 spectators and improve the look of the stadium for all those attending Saints games over the season it is completed.

The Asda will be built on the club's current car park, and is integral to help fund the building of the new stand, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo reports.

Franklin's Gardens currently has a capacity of 13,591, but Saints officials have said that the club's home since 1888 needs the expansion which would bring it up to the requirement under rugby's European competition, the Heineken Cup, which currently stands at 15,500. Tony Hewitt, vice-chairman of the side, told the source that he feels that once the £6 million development is completed he is confident that the club would be able to fill the extra seats on a regular basis.

Mr Hewitt said: "We'd like to think we could fill 15,500 seats regularly and we know there are some game where we'll be able to fill it easily. Our job will be to make sure the ground is full as many times as possible.

"There will be occasions when we don't fill it, but this development is a real opportunity for us to show the ground off and give more people a chance to come to Franklin's Gardens to see what we do."

If all goes to plan then both work on the new stand and the Asda would be able to start during the close season of 2014.

As the ongoing proposals rumble, the Saints players are currently in pre-season training with a number of friendlies already lined up before they kick off the new campaign away at Gloucester before a home game against Exeter Chiefs a week later.

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