Castleford Tigers boss Ian Millward is not making any predictions on where his team will finish in the Super League this year, but he is happy with preparations ahead of the big kick-off at Warrington on Sunday.
After a long pre-season everyone is ready for the start of the new Super League campaign with the Tigers looking for a big improvement on last year’s efforts when they ended up second from bottom.
Confidence is high that Cas can finish higher this time, although head coach Millward acknowledged that with a small squad they will need some luck with injuries.
He said: “Our aims for the season are to stay first of all injury free because of the depth of the squad. The second thing is being competitive for 80 minutes in every game and the third is to stay consistent with our performance and our structures. Then we can look at being a team that can genuinely look at pushing into a top eight spot.
“We need to get those things right first before we can beat our chest and say what we’d like to do.
“Injuries will be important. I’m happy with our best team and we need to get that on the field. In that regard we need a little bit of luck.”
Millward is not worried about the difficult start that has been put in front of his team with all the likely title challengers to play in the first two months of the season.
He added: “On paper it looks like we’ve been given a tough start and we play the perceived top six teams in the first eight weeks. But I’m more worried about being competitive and being consistent in what we can do.
“If we can do that we then give ourselves a better chance in the next part of the season when we have a fair run against the teams that are perceived to finish between eighth and 14th.
“I’m not so much worried about the draw, more about us being at a stage when we are more consistent so that we are winning games no matter who we play.
“Confidence is good among the players. I’ve been really impressed with them in pre-season. I’ve liked their attitude and they have trained really hard.
“We still need a bit more time for things to gel, but I couldn’t ask any more of the players at the moment. They have worked really hard.
“We’ve been able to break up the routine from time to time and the guys loved the trip to Everton when they got to experience being a Premier League soccer player for a day.
“They enjoyed their coaches and their surroundings and being a part of all that. It was good for team spirit.
“The new signings have been very good and we’re looking for a big impact from them in regard to their presence, their influence and their composure they can bring to the squad.”