THE tough assignments keep on coming, but Newcastle Falcons back row Gary Graham insists there is no sense of panic ahead of tomorrow’s Gallagher Premiership home game with Wasps.

Worcester’s surprise win at Leicester last weekend shook things up at the foot of the table, and means Falcons are down in tenth position as they prepare to take on a Wasps side who are safely ensconced in the top three.

Falcons have won just one of their opening four matches, but some context is required when examining their results as they have already played last year’s Premiership finalists, Saracens and Exeter, as well as travelling to Leicester a matter of days after the Tigers changed their head coach.

Their points return doesn’t really reflect the quality of their performances, and while tomorrow’s game represents another sizeable challenge, Graham maintains the mood around Kingston Park is still upbeat.

“We knew the fixture list was tough with playing a lot of the top teams early on,” said the 26-year-old. “But we were going in fully committed trying to win those games.

“We fell short at home to Saracens, a little bit the same last week against Exeter but there are definitely positives to take into the rest of the season.

“It’s about how you bounce back and how you react to little setbacks, because you can’t dwell on it. You just need to carry on and keep going, and that’s the mind-set here.

“Exeter are a very good side, as they showed all last season and the couple of seasons before that. I think we’re also a good side, even though we weren’t at our best last weekend. We can definitely step up from there, we need to hit our benchmark and we have a great chance to do it against Wasps.”

Last season, Wasps ended Newcastle’s five-and-a-half month unbeaten home run when they triumphed at Kingston Park on the final weekend of the regular season.

Falcons had more than half-an-eye on the play-offs back then, but will be fully focused on the job in hand tomorrow. Nevertheless, they will still have to be at their very best to see off Wasps, with the London side having cruised to an 18-points win at Sale last weekend.

“They’re a quality side in attack, there’s no denying it, but we’re going to try and put them to the sword in defence,” said Graham. “We’ve got a game plan in place, we’ve trained well this week and we’ve got things lined up.

“It really feels like we’re in the right frame of mind, our mentality is spot-on and we’ve got some points to prove after a couple of our results so far.”

Graham suffered a disrupted pre-season, and was making his first start of the campaign when he lined up against Exeter seven days ago. He admits he has been playing catch-up, but feels he is gradually getting back into top gear.

“I was just glad to be back in the team, to be honest,” he said. “I’d struggled a bit at the start of pre-season and coming into the season, but I’m happy to be involved again. The match fitness is a work in progress which will improve in the coming weeks, but it’s heading in the right direction.

“The fitness is definitely going to get tested with the way Wasps move the ball around, but we’re in good shape and feeling good.”