posted on 1 September 2012

Wakefield Wildcats host Widnes tomorrow evening looking for their sixth successive victory and out to maintain their push towards Super League’s top eight.

Richard Agar says the Wildcats can handle the pressure of the play-off push.

It is 25 matches since the sides met in round one as Trinity produced a 32-14 victory in Cheshire with this Sunday’s match now being billed as the biggest of the season. The play-offs are within touching distance of Richard Agar and his team after a wonderful second half of the season that has resulted in eight wins to date since the home defeat to Warrington in May.

“We have had the five wins on the bounce but if you look at the last few weeks then they have been very close, tight and hard fought games with lots of emotion in there,” he said.

“We thought we saw signs at Hull KR that we certainly needed to touch up on a few areas that we might not have had chance to on a normal week-to-week turnaround so hopefully we have done that. The boys are now feeling mentally and physically refreshed and our confidence shouldn’t be a problem and the motivation within the squad is very high.”

The head coach has been a regular in play-off campaigns in his time at Hull FC and he says at this stage of the year they will take any win, no matter what the circumstances after recent one point victories.

“I guess we would yet but wins don’t come without performances generally and our performance at Hull KR was probably a 40 minute one or maybe a little bit longer, so we have to get back to getting out an 80 minute performance which we have done for big chunks now. We are really happy with the way the second half of our season has gone. If we can negotiate one of our last two games or even both of them then I think our form will be right up there with the top six.

“It is exciting and we have enough players in our squad that would have experienced getting to the back end of the year and having to get wins in pressured games. Richard Mathers, Paul Sykes and Tim Smith are all very experienced players for us through the middle of the field along with others that have played in these types of games before. It could have been worse for us, we could have had a lot more difficult run-in that what we have but we know the dangers of all the games that sit in front of us.

“People have been talking about pressure of playing big teams, pressure of going away from home, pressure of now being favourites. It’s no different to how we have approached things all year really. We can’t be too far away from a good performance and expect to get a result, that’s simply where we are and that’s the case this weekend.”

Widnes have gained two points on the road just once this season but have scored over 22 points in their last seven encounters to show their improvement since the start of the year and Agar says they have done their research on their opponents.

“We are playing a team that has definitely improved over the course of the year and we have probably watched more footage on Widnes than we would on a normal team because its round one since we played them. They have had some changes to their team and their performances have gradually improved and a couple of times perhaps they haven’t got the win but they have been ultra competitive.

“We have paid a lot of attention to them on video and we are looking forward to the game but we know they have a strong motivation to finish off the bottom of the league which would be a remarkable testament to them. At the start of the competition I think finishing off bottom might have been a goal for both clubs so we have more than exceeded expectation and I’m sure if they get the one win or two wins that they are talking about than they will probably see their season as a real success so we know they will come highly motivated.”

Richard Agar was speaking to Wildcats TV and you can watch the full press conference HERE where he talks more in depth about having the week off, thoughts on Bradford and their run in while discussing his name being mentioned as a Coach of the Year contender.

The Wildcats are expecting a bumper crowd for the final home game at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium for 2012 and tickets are available on the gate from £20 for adults for the 6:45pm kick off.

This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.

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