Richard Mayhew: Newcastle Falcons will avoid complacency
Flanker Richard Mayhew says Newcastle Falcons will not be complacent, despite taking a huge step towards retaining their Premiership status.
Falcons beat bottom club London Welsh on Sunday to extend the gap with the sole relegation place to 20 points.
The division's most northerly club have already improved on last season's try tally, with 32 scores in 13 games.
"We're still third bottom of the table so we can't hide from that fact," Mayhew told BBC Newcastle.
"But we're definitely showing improvements on and off the field, the culture around the club is fantastic, the boys get on really well and work hard for each other and it's starting to pay dividends on the field.
"The result at the weekend showed that, and the previous results even though we don't want to lose are going in the right direction."
One of the key factors for Falcons has been the emergence of academy talent to bolster the ranks, such as Chris Harris and Tom Penny in the three-quarters as well as Scott Wilson, George McGuigan and Dan Temm in the pack all impressing and adding to the depth.
|Newcastle v Newport: Cup record so far|
|Bucharest (h) W 43-19||1||Stade Francais (a) W 38-22|
|Newport (a) W 30-26||2||Newcastle (h) L 26-30|
|Stade Francais (h) W 30-23||3||Bucharest (a) W 37-10|
|Stade Francais (a) L 24-31||4||Bucharest (h) W 69-17|
|Newport (h)||5||Newcastle (a)|
|Bucharest (a)||6||Stade Francais (h)|
"You look at training and there's a lot of competition going on, you can argue for a number of guys in each position," continued the former North Harbour flanker.
"If you watch a training session on Tuesday afternoon, the players are pushing each other pretty hard and I think that is one of the reasons why we're developing as a side.
"We've got a bit of depth that we haven't had as much in the past and there are guys like Chris Harris and Tom Penny who are showing that if you give them an opportunity they will take it with two hands.
"Hopefully this weekend some of the boys can continue that form and push their case for selection."
Dean Richards' side turn their attention to the European Rugby Challenge Cup with the visit of Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday, another competition in which the club has made great strides.
Unbeaten in their previous two home Pool Three matches, and with victory over the Dragons at their Rodney Parade home earlier this season, there is a big opportunity to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.
"The boys have done a lot of hard work, but we've still got two very tough games to play," added Mayhew.
"Obviously focusing on this weekend Newport are a good side, they've got some quality internationals in there and we certainly won't be taking them lightly even though we've beaten them.
"They're quietly confident and want to come and beat us which is fantastic, we're looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge."