Wakefield Wildcats: Wakefield set to rock ’n’ roll despite their skinny living

James Webster. PIC: Steve Riding
James Webster. PIC: Steve Riding
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BOSS JAMES Webster admits Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ squad is “thin in certain areas” – but he is confident they will be competitive in 2015.

Wildcats’ pre-season campaign began with a 50-28 drubbing at Leeds Rhinos on Boxing Day, after they had led 12-0 and 18-6 in the opening quarter.

That fueled fears Wildcats will be one of the teams battling to avoid relegation next year and Webster conceded it is a struggle to build a strong squad on Wakefield’s limited resources.

But he insisted he is happy with the players he has brought in and he reckons Wakefield will be tougher in the middle of the field by the time they begin their First Utility Super League campaign at Castleford Tigers on Sunday, February 8.

“Recruitment at Wakefield is really tough,” Webster admitted.

“I am happy with what we’ve recruited, but saying that, on our budget you can’t recruit every position you need.

“We are still short in some positions. The realisation is if you want to go out and get a top-line full-back, you are looking at well over £100,000 – and we haven’t got that.

“We had to cut our cloth accordingly and some of the middles were more realistic in our budget.

“We’ve had to come up with a formula for how we are going to win some games on what sort of money we’ve got and hopefully we will be more competitive in the middle than we were last year.

“Boxing Day didn’t show that, but in saying that we are hopeful we can be more competitive by spending our money in a different area.

“We are thin in certain areas, but I can’t cover a full squad like the other clubs can on a full salary cap.”

Webster, who began 2014 as assistant to then-boss Richard Agar, said he is enjoying his first pre-season as head coach, despite the problems.

“It has been different,” he said. “You have got a high responsibility, but everything’s pretty much planned out before we start.

“Once you get into the swing of things it’s not too bad.

“It is a little bit more reactive at Wakefield in that we need to move around facilities.

“We don’t have our own facilities to use, but in saying that I think we’ve prepared reasonably well.

“We’ve made some strides, I think, in what we’re trying to do.

“I thought we looked pretty decent with the ball at times (on Boxing Day).

“But there’s two sides to the game – and we need to practice more on one of them.”