Newcastle Falcons are poised for their first sell-out at Kingston Park in almost a decade as Leicester Tigers visit on Sunday.

Director of rugby Dean Richards is a Tigers’ legend, in charge for four Premiership titles and two European Cups after a firm playing career at Welford Road.

And the Falcons’ chief, with his side starting the season well and sitting fourth in the table, revealed his respect for his former club: “Leicester are a good team and are also coming into this game with momentum from their big European win over Castres last weekend.

“They’re a hard-nosed team who have a certain amount of finesse – not as much as us, but at the same time they bring a hard edge to their game and a bit of niggle. At times in the past we have struggled a bit against that side of things but we’ll see how things go this weekend, and I’m sure the officials will be on top of certain things that particular players of theirs like to do.

“We have a lot of respect for Leicester and on paper they are an outstanding side, but with the money they’ve spent on their squad they should be in the top four year in, year out. They’ll have been disappointed with the last few years in terms of not winning anything, and ultimately that will be their goal.”

Richards added: “We’ve had two weeks in Europe and kept up the momentum, the beauty of which is that selection has been really difficult this week.

“Whichever team we go with there will be some boys disappointed at missing out, but we’re in a good place at the moment due to the competition we have for every single position.

“That’s exactly what you want, and the beauty of what we have done over the past six to eight weeks is that we’ve given people opportunities which they’ve taken.”

Kingston Park should be a 10,200 sell-out for the first time since May 2008, and Richards added: “It will be a fantastic atmosphere and there’s nothing better than Kingston Park when it’s a sell-out.

“I played here when it was like that, the atmosphere is unbelievable and myself and the players are all really looking forward to it.

“Ultimately we’ve got to get it into our head that this is just as big as any other game, and it’s what happens out on the field that really matters. Other things will have to be put to one side, but it should be a great occasion and we’re looking forward to it.”

The remaining tickets for Sunday are available by calling 0871 226 6060.