MARK Wilson believes Newcastle Falcons are in the right frame of mind to complete their great escape as they prepare to host Northampton Saints this evening.

The England flanker scored the winning try the last time the teams met in Gallagher Premiership action, the Falcons victorious in their last six league encounters against the men from Franklin’s Gardens.

The stakes are high tonight as the Falcons enter the last three rounds of the season seven points from safety, but Wilson believes they have left no stone unturned in their preparation.

“It’s important that we don’t get too bogged down thinking about what the game means, because that’s when people can start to freeze and play within themselves,” said the Cumbrian, who was this week shortlisted for England’s Player of the Season award.

“We’ve been really thorough in our preparation so that we’re free to play our game, that we’re relaxed and in a good place mentally. That’s when we’re at our best.”

Still frustrated by the narrow loss to relegation rivals Leicester Tigers a fortnight ago, Wilson said: “Leicester was a tough one – it was a game we know we should have won, but credit to Tigers for starting really well.

“That’s done now, and we’ll try to channel the positive aspects of it into the Northampton game. Obviously it was very disappointing, but you have to move on. There’s no time to sit and mope around.

“Having the week without a game has given us some time to refresh, so it’s good in that respect, but when you lose a game that you feel you should have won you just want to get straight back on the horse. Either way, the boys are really keen to get stuck into Northampton.

“Training hasn’t been drastically different from what we’ve been doing before. Yeah, these are must-win games, but if you start doing things which are wildly out of the norm at this stage of the season then that’s when you can start coming unstuck.”

Taking nothing for granted despite their recent purple patch against the Saints, he added: “Northampton are a quality outfit, and the way in which they’ve got some big recent results reflects the standard of players they’ve got. They’re in good form, and we’ll have to be on our mettle to match their physicality and deal with their class.

“You do your homework on teams and analyse what they do, but it’ll be the same for them. They’ll be sat down there looking at us and looking at where we can hurt them, so it’s just about being thorough and executing our game plan. We’ve got quality just like they do, and it should be a good night.”

Expecting the Falcons’ supporters to play their part, he added: “If you ask any of the lads when they prefer playing, they’ll all say Friday night.

“I just think the atmosphere is great under the lights here, the crowd really seem to be up for it and there’s a huge buzz around the place.”

Tickets for tonight’s 7.45pm kick-off are available from Kingston Park in person or on 0871 226 6060.