Newcastle Falcons captain Will Welch will make his 200th competitive appearance for the club against Leicester Tigers tomorrow.

Kingston Park is set for a sell-out – the first time since May 2008 - as Falcons hope to continue their storming start to the campaign. They are currently fourth in Aviva Premiership table and top of their European Challenge Cup group.

Newcastle-born flanker Welch, 27, said: “It’s a great honour to have played so many games for the Falcons, especially bearing in mind I used to come here as a supporter when I was a kid.

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“I used to stand on the North Terrace or sit in the West Stand, I’ve seen loads of great games here as a fan and it’s amazing to have been able to play in so many. Hopefully I’ve got a lot more left in me yet but it’s great to reach 200 and I count it is a privilege every time I pull on the shirt.”

Buoyed by the prospect of running out in front of a full house, Welch added: “Myself and all the lads are really looking forward to playing in front of what looks like being a sell-out crowd.

“The place is absolutely rocking when there are 7,000 people here, so it will be phenomenal to have another couple of thousand in and to have it completely sold out. Our ground isn’t massive but you get a heck of a noise going when it’s anywhere near full, and it really will make a huge difference to the boys.”

Fly-half Toby Flood starts his first Aviva Premiership game since rejoining the club, Sinoti Sinoti, Vereniki Goneva, Sonatane Takulua and Juan Pablo Socino returning to the back line after missing last week’s 21-20 European Challenge Cup victory at Bordeaux-Begles.

Hooker Kyle Cooper, flanker Mark Wilson and No 8 Nili Latu return in the pack.

Welch is confident the Falcons can take their Challenge Cup form back into the league after a Premiership return of four wins from six.

“The plan was always to keep our momentum going during the European window, and we managed to do that by beating the Dragons and having a really good win against a strong Bordeaux side over in France,” he said.

“We’ve just got to keep on taking little steps in the right direction, and that’s what’s going through our minds going into this weekend. We’ve got good strength in depth now, guys are really having to battle for every shirt and it’s a great position to be in.”

Tigers were one-point winners on their last visit to the North-East just under a year ago, and Welch said: “Leicester are coming up here on the back of some good wins of their own and it’s going to be a tough encounter, but hopefully one that we can come out on top of.

“We have a lot of links to Leicester throughout our coaching and playing team so we know what they’re about, and they’re a quality outfit. They’re physical, they’re abrasive up front and they have a quality back line who can play the ball, so they have threats across the field. We’ve really got to make sure we’re on the money.

“While it’s important to understand what Leicester will bring to the table the main thing is making sure we impose our own game onto them. There’s only so much you can do in terms of worrying about another team, and it’s mainly about ensuring we get our own game right on the day. We’ve shown over the past few months that if we do what we talk about we’re a very good side. We’re more than a match for anyone, and that’s what we need to concentrate on.”

Falcons: Tait, Goneva, Harris, Socino, Sinoti, Flood, Takulua; Vickers, Cooper, Welsh, Green, Robinson, Wilson, Welch (captain), Latu. Replacements: Lawson, Mavinga, Davison, Witty, Hogg, Young, Hodgson, Mermoz.