small steps can lead Wakefield Trinity Wildcats out of their form slump, according to coach James Webster.
Wildcats will bid to end an eight-game losing run in First Utility Super League when they take on visitors Wigan Warriors tonight.
That sequence included a 52-10 drubbing at Wigan less than a month ago, but Wakefield are on the back of a win following last Friday’s 44-16 home victory over Kingstone Press Championship outfit Halifax in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Webster reckons that was a small step forward for his team, who had been humbled 80-0 at Warrington the previous week and he is keen to see another improvement tonight.
“We didn’t make massive strides,” Webster said of his side’s first win since Super League round two, in February.
“We made some small ones, which is good. We are prepared for that to be par for the course at the moment, we aren’t going to be making massive improvements.
“It might take four, five or six weeks to get back to the type of situation we envisaged at the start of the year, but we are happy we made some small steps last week and we want to make some bigger ones this week, though it will be a different animal (tonight).”
The result at DW Stadium on March 27 gives Wildcats something to measure themselves against.
Webster added: “If we do better than last time we won’t be happy – we want to win every game we go into – but we are being realistic at the moment.
“We are prepared to play the long game.
“We want to see improvements each week, so we get to a stage where we are going into the last 10 minutes with a chance of winning the game.
“We’ve not been in any chance to win since the St Helens and Salford games. It has been more than a month since we’ve been in that situation.”
Webster said the Cup victory six days ago has given his players a lift.
He said: “Last week was good, it showed us how we need to prepare.
“The pressure was on us, there was a lot of expectation that we could get rolled over by Halifax.
“We prepared really hard and hopefully that has carried over into this week.
“Apart from the win, the main thing was the preparation – people saw the level they need to train at every week.”
Reece Lyne has recovered from a thumb injury and is set to return in the centres tonight, in place of young prospect Joe Arundel.
Ben Kavanagh, signed on loan from Widnes Vikings, could make his debut and young prospect Jordan Crowther is added to the initial 19, with Pita Godinet also hoping for a recall.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane will select from the 17 who beat Warrington Wolves last week, plus Matty Bowen and Larne Patrick
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: from Hall, Owen, Ryan, Lyne, Riley, Miller, T Smith, Scruton, McShane, Simon, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook, D Smith, Molloy, Kirke, Kavanagh, Crowther, Godinet.
Wigan Warriors: from Hampshire, Manfredi, Gelling, Sarginson, Burgess, Williams, M Smith, Crosby, McIllorum, Mossop, Farrell, J Tomkins, Bateman, Flower, Clubb, Tautai, L Tomkins, Bowen, Patrick.
Referee: Robert Hicks.
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.