HE IS stepping down after this weekend’s final game of the season, but Neil Kelly is confident Dewsbury Rams will have no trouble replacing him as coach.
The departing boss has identified improving team spirit as the biggest challenge facing whoever takes over following tomorrow’s visit of Leigh Centurions in the Betfred Championship Shield (3pm).
Kelly coached Rams for five years up to 2001 and then returned to the club midway through last season.
Concern over the club’s budget for next year, plus a family issue, is behind his decision to resign, but Kelly feels coaching Rams is “an attractive job for anybody to want to do”.
He said: “Despite my reluctance to go into next season with the budget that’s available, it is a competitive budget.
“It does require a certain amount of over-achievement if they want to finish seventh or eighth.
“It will require all the squad to build their spirit up, the coach included.
“That would be my advice for anyone coming in – build a team spirit here.
“That’s one thing that’s lacking a bit – and I am disappointed to say that.”
Rams will finish eighth in the Championship if they win tomorrow or Barrow Raiders lose at Featherstone Rovers.
“We are a good side when we don’t make errors,” Kelly said of his team.
“I know I probably sound like every coach when I say that, but for us it is really true.”
Rams lost 26-22 at bottom club Rochdale Hornets last week and Kelly is looking for a big improvement for their seasonal swan song.
“It’s the last game of the season and my last game at the club and we want to go out on a high,” he stressed.
“It’s the last chance for these players to play together as a group. I am certain some players will be moving on and they will want to finish well.
“It won’t be easy, but Dewsbury have always been well known for beating at least some of the big teams – like Toulouse and Bradford last year.
“Apart from the draw at Halifax there’s been no real giant killing from us this year so this is the last chance to take a big scalp.”