Experienced Leeds prop Mike MacDonald believes Carnegie’s relatively young squad is growing into the RFU Championship season.
MacDonald’s return from World Cup duty with the United States earlier this month has prompted a three-game winning run that has seen the Yorkshire club climb away from early-season trouble and into a top-eight promotion play-off place.
With the three Yorkshire teams on a high – Rotherham Titans and Doncaster Knights are also ensconsced in the top eight – MacDonald believes there is more to come from Leeds.
“There’s a good buzz about the place,” he said ahead of Leeds’s trip to Bedford on Saturday.
“We knew we were going to be on a steep learning curve and the boys are learning on the fly.
“It has to happen that way. But it’s a long season and there’s plenty of time for the boys to grow.
“The good thing about the league structure is you only have to be in the top eight to give yourselves a chance.”
Sean Hohneck returned in the win against Plymouth and the club are also hopeful that Lachlan Mackay, Danny Paul and Andy Titterrell will soon be able to bolster Diccon Edwards’s options.
MacDonald said: “The young guys who have been bled this season will be boosted by the return of those injured players and that will help us in the play-offs.
“There’s still a lot for these young guys to learn. You can play as much rugby as you like at a younger age or in a second team, but these are men that we are going up against, 25- to 30-year-old men. They’re doing a great job and they have to be proud.
“Every team is targeting us. We’re sketchy in some areas so we just have to keep on trying to prove them wrong.”