It’s been a turbulent few weeks at Saracens but director of rugby Mark McCall insists spirits are high as they head into their blockbuster Premiership clash against Bath on Friday night.

Sarries were docked 35 points and handed a £5.36m fine for breaching the competition’s salary cap regulations and return to domestic action at The Rec this weekend after a win and a defeat in the Champions Cup against Ospreys and Racing 92.

And the defending champions resume their Premiership campaign 26 points adrift of safety, playing at a venue where they have not won since 2016.

But McCall, whose side have recorded three wins from their opening four Premiership matches and are bolstered this week by their returning England contingent, believes his players have the resilience to turn the situation around.

“There’s a good buzz in the group,” the 52-year-old said.

“On the field this year we have gone really well – if the table was different we would be third with 13 points from the four games we’ve played.

“And that’s with a bucketload of players who couldn’t play because they were at the World Cup or senior players like Brad Barritt, Alex Goode and Michael Rhodes who were all injured.

“The seven weeks have gone really well and a lot of the players know we are going to rotate extensively, so they are going to get perhaps more playing opportunities than they would otherwise have got.

“Bath’s last couple of performances at The Rec have been good – they beat Northampton in their last game and played well against Ulster in a close game, so it will be a tough place to go.”

McCall has fielded a formidable-looking starting XV, including the likes of England World Cup stars Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola and Jamie George.

Mako Vunipola and Elliot Daly also start for Sarries, who will be bidding to topple a Bath side buoyed by their Round 4 Premiership triumph against Northampton last time out.

But scrum-half Ben Spencer will start Friday’s fixture on the bench, with No. 9 Richard Wigglesworth getting the nod ahead of the man who was jetted out to Japan at the eleventh hour to fill the injured boots of Gloucester’s Willi Heinz.

And Spencer, who made a brief five-minute cameo in England’s World Cup final defeat against South Africa, says he is relishing the return to domestic action despite recent events at Allianz Park.

“The salary cap punishment hit everyone pretty hard at the start – it probably took me a week or two to get over the situation we’re in,” the 27-year-old accepted.

“But now everyone is on the same page – we know what we need to do and we just can’t wait to get stuck in now.

“As players, we are here to play rugby and that is our job at the end of the day.”