Darrell Griffin realises the hard work has only just begun for Leeds Rhinos and admits the faltering champions are still viewed by all their rivals as vulnerable.
They entertain Castleford Tigers tomorrow relieved to have secured a much-needed 44-40 victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Monday night.
That has slightly reduced the pressure on the stumbling side whose worrying loss of form had seen them slump outside the play-off places.
They are tentatively back up to the crucial eighth spot now but ex-England prop Griffin knows it matters little ahead of another West Yorkshire derby.
“Cas’ are another side who can score points and they will come here fancying their chances, like every side that comes to Leeds,” he told the Yorkshire Post.
“They see Leeds at the moment not getting results and not in the form we’d like to be and they want to knock us off our pedestal.
“Everyone wants to beat Leeds at the best of times.
“I’m sure they’ll raise their game and probably have their best match all year on Sunday.
“We understand that but will be ready for it.”
He is insistent that Leeds can rally from their slump and rediscover the sort of form which has seen them win four of the last five Super League titles.
Heading into this round of fixtures, they remained only two points adrift of St Helens in fourth spot.
“The Wakefield game was our game in hand and we’re only a couple of wins now from being in third or fourth position,” added the front-row, who joined from Huddersfield Giants last winter.
“We’ve had dry patches through the year but there’s too much quality in our side to panic.
“We obviously need to catch up with teams like Wigan – who are flying at the moment – and Warrington.
“But there’s a long way to go yet and a lot can happen; others can suffer injuries and form can dip at any time, so we’re confident.”
Leeds are without England captain Jamie Peacock after he suffered a slight knee strain during the victory over Wakefield. Richard Moore steps in and Kallum Watkins returns from knee trouble at centre.
Castleford are looking to build on an impressive win against Salford, though they remain out of contention in 12th place.
Coach Ian Millward said: “We’re looking forward to the rest of the season. There’s 10 games to go and we feel that there’s quite a few we can score some points in and it’s important to everyone that we finish the season off well.
“The Salford win wasn’t a surprise to us and it’s given us confidence.”