Macleod wants winning finish
Fly-half Nick Macleod wants Sale to maintain their strong December form by signing off for the year with an Aviva Premiership win over Newcastle.
The Boxing Day clash comes at the end of a month in which Sale have won at Bath before recording back-to-back victories against Agen in the Amlin Cup. Until they got the better of Bath, Sale had lost three Premiership games in a row, the most painful being their defeat by Exeter who came from 23-7 behind at half-time at Edgeley Park on November 25 to win 30-23.
Macleod said: "If we can get a win against Newcastle it would be the perfect way to end the year for us. The game against Exeter, where we threw away a 20-point lead, was a real disappointment for everyone but maybe it was also a blessing in disguise. Everybody really focused and worked extra hard in the fall-out from it."
He added: "We have managed to turn things around by playing some good rugby and, with three wins on the bounce, it's looking promising."
Scrum-half Dwayne Peel returns to the Sale starting line-up while hooker Andy Titterrell features on the bench following his loan move from Leeds.
Newcastle hooker Rob Vickers makes his first start in three months after recovering from a serious knee injury, while Samoa flanker Taiasina Tu'ifua also returns.
"We know it is going to be tough down at Sale and we have to go down there, be sharp and positive and really take them on," Newcastle head coach Alan Tait said.
"They are a good side and their pack has a lot of gas and get around the pitch well. Their backs are also playing well and scoring some good tries - they are a very mobile side."
Gloucester are hoping to address a run of three successive Premiership defeats when they host Wasps, also on Boxing Day.
"We've lost our way a little bit. This week we've tried to get back to where we were earlier in the season," head coach Bryan Redpath said.