Gold: Falcons will fight for survival
Gary Gold insists morale is good in the Newcastle camp as they prepare to continue their Aviva Premiership survival fight.
The Falcons have just four games left in order to retain a place among English rugby's elite. They are currently eight points behind 11th-placed Wasps, who host Gloucester on Sunday, and know that defeat against Kingston Park visitors Sale Sharks on Friday night cannot be contemplated.
"Our destiny is not in our hands, because if the teams above us win this weekend then obviously we will still be in the same situation," Newcastle rugby director Gold said.
"But it is time for the boys to express themselves, and these challenges should be seen as exciting.
"We have said to the players that it is going to be a real test of character, and if this team can fight for their lives who knows what could happen."
Leicester can go above Saracens into second spot if they brush aside Welford Road visitors Worcester on Friday night.
The Tigers, fresh from a bonus-point victory over London Irish, have suspended scrum-half Ben Youngs ahead of his scheduled appearance before Rugby Football Union disciplinary chiefs next week, so James Grindal deputises.
Elsewhere, though, wing Alesana Tuilagi, centre Anthony Allen, prop Martin Castrogiovanni and flanker Tom Croft all return to Leicester's starting XV, which underlines their enviable squad depth.
"Leicester are playing at the top of their game at the moment," Worcester head coach Richard Hill said. "They are a fantastic team, so we are under no illusions our defence has to be the best it has been this season.
"And we are going to have to score tries. It's not going to be one of those games where there is going to be three to six points in it by penalty kicks."