WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats’ coach Richard Agar thinks critics are fools to have already consigned his side and Bradford Bulls to relegation.
The West Yorkshire rivals meet tonight in only the second week of the First Utility Super League season with many observers already feeling one, or both, will eventually be demoted.
Wakefield saw their squad decimated last autumn due to cash problems while this evening’s opponents are facing a points deduction for entering administration and have also just seen two more players leave.
But Agar, who steered his side to the play-offs two years ago after scraping together a new squad, feels both have the potential to defy those critics.
“Off-the-field problems, whether it be ownership, financial or whatever, do not always correlate to a poor on-field performance,” he said.
“We’ve seen that at Wakefield before and I saw plenty of positives in Bradford’s defeat against Castleford on Sunday.
“They moved the ball really well, had good depth, looked to strike plenty and, in Luke Gale they have a very smart half-back.
“What Francis (Cummins) always does is produce teams who work really hard for each other and are very competitive.
“He’s done an outstanding job over the last year there and, while everyone is tipping us, London and Bradford as a three-horse race for two relegation spots, we hope to show that’s not the case.
“I’m sure Bradford will be thinking the same, too, and I think there’s enough in both sides to suggest that there could be some other names in that mix later on instead.
“We know it’ll be a tough game and they’ll want to respond after what happened against Castleford.”
One of those two players who left Bradford is Jarrod Sammut, who Wakefield signed on Friday.
The half-back will debut but Agar – whose side battled hard before losing 18-14 at Salford on Sunday – said: “We’re not expecting too much just yet.
“He’s only had one session with us this week and he just needs to get this one out of the way especially given it’s against his former club and so soon.
“I’m not sure where he’ll play long-term but he gives us some line breaks, some X-Factor and some depth in key positions.
“We had plenty of positives in our Salford game and really we should have won given we made nine line breaks to their four. We need to build on that.”