James Webster says making the top eight in 2015 is a bigger priority for the Wildcats than achieving a similar feat in 2014.
Trinity sit three points off the play-off places with four games remaining and with testing trips to St. Helens (tonight) and Castleford Tigers still to come, sneaking into the final berth will be a difficult proposition.
Webster says such an achievement would be a bonus having achieved the primary objective of Super League survival and although wanting to finish the season strongly, the Australian’s attentions are increasingly turning to 2015 with both Matt Ryan and Nick Scruton going under the knife to ensure they’re fully fit for pre-season and a concerted push on making the top eight under the exciting new competition structure that is being introduced.
“I’m more worried about next year than this year,” admitted Webster. “I think making the eight next year is more important than making the eight this year. We haven’t had a pre-season in three years due to restructuring and players coming and going so we need a proper pre-season next year.
“Anyone who needs fixing up we’ll get done and we’ll concentrate on finishing the season as good as we can. If that means we squeeze into the eight then that’s fantastic, but if it doesn’t, we’ve had a good year already.
“The eight is really good for any club to make but you’ve got to work with what’s important within your club and sometimes getting some people some experience this season and trying people in a few different spots will be more advantageous next season.”
With Wigan Warriors only able to rescue a last-gasp draw against Hull KR on Thursday night, the Wildcats travel to Langtree Park to face a Saints side still topping the First Utility Super League table.
However, Nathan Brown’s side are suffering an injury crisis at the worst possible time and in key positions, with half-backs Luke Walsh and Lance Hohaia both missing through injury and usual deputy Jon Wilkin ruled out for the remainder of 2014 also through injury.
It’s still a Saints squad brimming with quality and with no Wakefield win on Saints turf since 2009, Webster knows it will be a huge challenge for his team.
“They’ve got some players missing but they’ve still got some good test players in their team and a lot more than a lot of other clubs do and that’s why they’re able to handle injury situations better than anyone else.
“They are missing some half-backs which changes their style of play and we’ve tried to prepare for that but they’re a massive big powerful team so whether we can handle that is going to determine how we do in the game.”
Tickets for tonight’s game are no longer on sale from the club but will be available on the gate priced at £22 for adults, £16 for concessions (60 and over) and young adults (aged 16-21) and £10 for juniors (under 16′s).
The under 19′s will play Saints in a curtain raiser at 5.30pm with turnstiles open 15 minutes prior to kick-off.
Listen to Webster’s preview on the Wildcats Audioboo channel by clicking HERE.