Newcastle United have been warned to expect a Brighton team growing in confidence ahead of a significant game in the Premier League’s relegation fight.

When the Magpies head to the south coast on Saturday night there is an opportunity for both teams to give the fight for survival a real boost.

A win for 16th placed Brighton, on the back of beating Southampton last weekend, will increase a one-point gap they hold over the Magpies, while Steve Bruce’s men will be aiming to swap places with Graham Potter’s men.

A draw does not really suit either team because Fulham, who can climb out of the relegation zone by beating Leeds on Friday night, are showing signs of major improvement under Scott Parker.

Newcastle, who hope to have striker Callum Wilson again soon after his return to training, are in desperate need of a better run having won just two of their previous 17 league games. Brighton’s Adam Lallana feels the hosts will be in a better frame of mind.

“We’re trying not to build it up because there’s still nine games left after this weekend, but it is obviously a big one,” said former Liverpool man Lallana.

“I feel like we’re not playing with that pressure that it is a must-win. When you are playing with that pressure it is difficult to perform to your maximum.

“It would have been easy in the game at the weekend against Southampton to feel the pressure and you maybe don’t perform to your best but I think the lads have been quite content with how we’ve been performing.

“It would be different if we’d not been playing well. I’ve been involved in teams, maybe when I played at Southampton all those years ago, when you’re not performing well and you’d feel the pressure more.

“But because we have been performing well, creating chances, there’s still that little bit of confidence there, which helps. The mood has been really good and it has been in the last four or five weeks, even though we’ve struggled to pick up points because if we played those games all over again how we played, we’d get points. We’ve been unfortunate.”

Despite some concerns at the Amex about Brighton’s position, the players remain firmly behind the Potter plan.

Lallana said: “We can sit here and say we’re unlucky but there’s a part of it that shows we’ve not been unlucky. We’ve become passive through a certain part of the game or lost concentration for a certain part of the game.

“That’s about evolving your mentality as a team and I’ve definitely seen improvements over the course of the year. Hopefully we can keep improving at that, stay up this year, and hopefully set different goals for next season.

“We’ve got a really talented, big squad here and I really do see bright things for the future of Brighton. There’s probably no one better than the manager to implement that because his philosophy and the way he wants to play football is exciting and it’s really exciting to be a part of it.”

While Potter has the backing, Newcastle boss Bruce remains under huge pressure and he needs a run of results to give everyone on Tyneside a lift.

Newcastle could start the game at Brighton in the relegation zone, so the sooner powerful striker Wilson is fit the better.

He has vowed to make sure ‘every box is ticked’ in order for him to affect matches like he wants to when he does make his comeback.

Wilson has not played since suffering a hamstring injury in the Magpies’ 3-2 win against Southampton last month.

The 29-year-old has a return date in mind with the upcoming two-week international break a crucial period in his rehabilitation.

“I thought it was probably going to be a four-week lay-off,” Wilson told NUFC TV. “The scan revealed it was a little bit worse than that.

“Like I say, we just play it by ear, take things slowly without rushing it because the main thing is getting back and staying back.

“There’s no point me coming back and then breaking down again, which is no good for anyone.

“I think, for me, it’s making sure every box is ticked and I feel comfortable in myself and I’ve got a lot of training under my belt to go into a game and to be able to affect it and not just take part.”

Newcastle defender Jamal Lewis, meanwhile, has been called up to the Northern Ireland squad for their upcoming international fixtures.

Ian Baraclough’s side will play three games later this month, including their first 2022 World Cup qualifying fixtures against Italy, Bulgaria and the USA.