Newcastle Falcons winger Tom May has defended his side after they have been labelled as favourites for relegation from the Guinness Premiership this season.
The side, who finished 11th in the table ahead of Leeds Carnegie last season, have lost three key players to rival sides in the summer transfer market.
England internationals Mathew Tait and Toby Flood and back-row prospect Ben Woods have all left the club.
Tait will face former team-mates when he returns to Kingston park with new club Sale Sharks on Sunday.
Despite a number of critics tipping them for the drop, May believes his side can bounce back from last season's poor finish and avoid relegation.
"These guys in the national press have a lot to say for themselves at times, but that is their job and I don't think anyone is too bothered what is written about us."