Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott remains confident he can turn around his team’s ailing fortunes, but admits the next 10 days could make or break their season.
The 2009 Super League champions are currently in eighth place after losing their last three matches, and in danger of failing to finish in the top six for the first time since 1996.
However McDermott, who is in the first year of a three-year contract, is still upbeat over the season’s prospects and insists he is not concerned over his future.
“I’m not worried about my own position,” he told Press Association Sport. “My only concern is the players in the dressing room and making them the best players they can be.
“I go to sleep thinking about that and I wake up thinking about that.
“I’m not looking at the table. That’s a surefire way of tripping up, a surefire way of failing.”
Leeds can climb a couple of places if they beat seventh-placed Hull at Headingley, and their fortunes could also be transformed when they take on the same opposition in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup at the KC Stadium on Sunday week.
“They are big games,” added McDermott. “We can’t afford to drop too many games between now and the end of the year.
“We can talk about the negatives and we can talk about the doom and gloom but the reality is that we’re still involved in both competitions.
“We’re going for the carrot mentality and what could be or just might be towards the end of this year.
“It’s easy to be negative and to find out why things won’t work but we’re trying to find out why things will work.
“We are looking at the positives, at what happens if we win these next two games.”
McDermott has responded to last week’s 38-18 defeat by Catalan Dragons by axing centre Lee Smith, but recalls forward Ali Lauitiiti, who was dropped following the side’s defeat at Wigan a week earlier.