James Webster says he is excited to experience his first match as Wildcats head coach this evening.
Webster was appointed eleven days ago after Richard Agar stepped down from his post and added Tim Smith to his squad on loan earlier this week.
His first challenge will be that of bottom club London Broncos who are seeking their first win of the campaign following 15 successive defeats.
After spending time as an assistant coach at the Wildcats, Hull FC and with the French national team, Webster will take charge of the team for the first time and is eagerly anticipating the occasion.
“I’m very excited,” he told the press at the pre-match media briefing which you can listen to in full HERE.
“It seems like a long time since I took over. The first couple of days went really quick and a lot of days seemed to drag into another day. It was quite busy but things have settled down now, we’ve trained really well, the boys have been outstanding with their preparation and I think we’re going to go out and put a good performance in.”
A victory over Joe Grima’s men would see the Wildcats leapfrog Salford Red Devils in the table and move eight points clear of second bottom Bradford Bulls.
Despite that healthy cushion Webster is refusing to take Super League survival for granted, but admits his focus is on catching teams above Trinity rather than worrying too much about what is going on below.
“I definitely don’t think we’ll be safe,” said Webster when asked of the significance of a win. “There will be eleven games left after this, more than enough. As I said in my first press conference, we’re trying to get up the table and not look at people trying to catch us.
“We’ve a really highly motivated group who want to try and improve as a squad and feel they probably let themselves down as a squad in the first half of the year a little bit. We’re probably looking at catching some people and improve as a club rather than getting dragged into a relegation idea.”
Webster has been boosted by the arrival of Tim Smith, a key part of the Wildcats successful run to the play-offs in 2012 and who has a familiarity with both the club and Webster having first known each other at Parramatta in the early 2000’s.
With just a couple of training sessions under his belt and having been in and out of the Salford team in recent weeks, Webster isn’t expecting too much too soon from Smith but says he has already had a positive impact on the squad.
“He’s been brilliant, Tim. He’s had two training sessions, one just a run through yesterday. Timmy knows the boys and knows how we like to play. The boys noticed straightaway just what sort of impact he can bring to our team. He’ll be a little bit rusty, he hasn’t played a huge amount of footy over the last six weeks and maybe not a huge amount of training too.
“He’s a class player and on his day Tim can be really pivotal for us. Tim was the catalyst for the good run we had over the first two years and the thing about Timmy is that he likes being the main man. He likes being in control and calling the plays and having the boys looking at him to get us around.
“We’ve been missing that a little bit and he’s jumped in and relished the chance to do that this week.”
Supporters are reminded that tickets are on sale on the gate for this evening priced at £22 adults and £12 juniors/concessions. You can buy in advance from the Ridings Centre store until 3pm or the Stadium Box Office which is open throughout the day.