DEAN RICHARDS is confident his Newcastle Falcons players will overcome a short turnaround when they travel to Nottingham tomorrow night.

Falcons extended their 100 per cent start to the season when they won at Yorkshire Carnegie on Sunday, and are being asked to return to action just five days after their previous outing in Leeds.

Richards has made nine changes to his starting line-up in an attempt to keep things fresh, and is confident his squad is capable of dealing with the busy schedule.

“It’s a short turnaround between matches, but we’ve not changed much from last week to this week in terms of our preparation,” said the Falcons head coach. “We’ve not had much time on the training field, but that’s just life. It’s not like soccer where you can go Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday. There are physical demands around rugby which limit what you can do, but a five-day turnaround is just one of things you have to accept a couple of times a season.

“The fact they’re both away games adds to that a little bit and you sort of wonder whether someone has done that deliberately, but we’ll just get on with it.”

Skipper George McGuigan is one of the players returning to the starting side as Falcons look to extend their nine-point lead at the top of the Championship standings. With the winners of this season’s second tier set to replace disgraced Premiership champions Saracens in the top-flight next term, Falcons have won all 15 of their matches since dropping out of the top-flight.

Tom Arscott, Johnny Williams, Sonatane Takulua, Logovi’i Mulipola, Greg Peterson and Gary Graham are the six players to keep their places from Sunday’s win, with Falcons travelling to a Nottingham side who are third bottom in the table. However, Richards is adamant tomorrow’s game is not a foregone conclusion.

“I don’t see it that way at all – I think it’ll be really difficult,” he said. “The floodlights aren’t great, the pitch isn’t great and it’s a real leveller in that sense, so we’ll need to be on top of our game to get the win. It won’t be an easy game at all.

“Nottingham will have a go. They’re quite physical, they’ll play to the conditions and they’ll try to control the territory and the contact area.”