Featherstone Rovers head coach Andy Hay has revealed his excitement ahead of the new new season and has lofty ambitions for his new look squad.
The 41-year-old took over in difficult circumstances back in May but led the club to a Grand Final appearance. However, he feels his side will be even better this year.
“We want to make the top four. That’s the aim for everyone at the club. With the squad we have that should be the minimum aim – if we don’t achieve that we will have failed.
“We’re excited but we know it’s going to be tough because every other Championship side is aiming for that top four place. The players know what they have to do and they know how to play under pressure.
“We’ve built a squad which we think can challenge the top teams in the division so we’re feeling confident.
“We’ve worked really hard in pre-season and it’s gone very well. We’ve put a lot of strength and fitness on the players and worked on our skills so we’re hoping we’ll see an improvement on the level we were at last season.”
Despite remaining a part time side in 2015, Rovers have made some impressive additions to their squad ahead of the ‘New Era’ with former NRL star Reni Maitua and Challenge Cup winner Paul Wood taking the headlines.
“I think recruitment has gone very well,” said Hay. “We’re under difficult circumstances with us not being full time but I think we’ve done the best we can possibly do – we’ve brought in some quality players. A lot of hard work has been put in behind the scenes to pull these deals off and the important thing now is to get them to perform on the field and produce the results we want.”
Aside from the big names, the former Salford assistant is keen to stress the importance of the younger players at Fev as they go in search of a place in Super League, pointing out former Leeds Rhinos hooker Luke Teasdale as one to watch.
“Young players are key for us. Luke Teasdale had a fantastic end to last season and looks very promising. We’ve also brought Sam Irwin in from Australia and he looks good too. We’ve got a good balance with those guys alongside the likes of Will Sharp, Paul Sykes, Gareth Carvell and Paul Wood. Our squad was perhaps a little too young last year but we’ve got a real good blend now.
“The ultimate ambition is to get into Super League,” he added. “We’ve got a chairman who’s made great strides in helping put Featherstone back on the map since he came here eight years ago. The local community have got behind us and feel proud to follow us again. To get Featherstone into Super League would be a massive for us and we’re pleased the new structure gives us that chance.”