Boss Chris Chester says Wakefield Trinity can handle the pressure of their looming battle against relegation.
A run of seven defeats from their past eight Betfred Super League games has left Trinity eighth in the table, just four points above bottom club London Broncos, going into tomorrow’s fixture at Wigan Warriors.
And Wakefield have arguably the toughest run-in of the bottom five.
All but two of their final seven matches are against teams currently in the play-off positions and they have four away fixtures and just three at home.
But asked how Trinity will cope with the pressure, Chester insisted: “We deal with it quite easily.”
He said: “We don’t look at the games coming up, we just deal with each week at a time.
“It’s more about the performance this week. If we can tidy a few areas up and make the most of the good ball we’re getting we are a very hard team to beat.”
Trinity still have some breathing space, but that could be wiped out if they continue to struggle and the teams below them find some form.
“There’s pressure every week,” Chester added.
“I’m not going to say it’s a must-win game, it’s important we improve in certain areas and I’m confident we can do a job on Wigan.”
Wigan have climbed from the fringe of the relegation battle to fifth in the table, but were beaten 32-10 at leaders St Helens last week.
“It was always going to take a bit of time with [coach] Adrian Lam coming in,” Chester observed. “They have got some new structures – he wants to play a little different to how Shaun Wane wanted them playing and they are a little more expansive now.
“They are playing well and are hard to beat on home turf.
“Saints certainly showed the way to beat them, but we just have to match their physicality.
“They are a big, aggressive team and we have to make sure we get out of the blocks.”
Trinity will be without pop Craig Kopczak who picked up an injury in last week’s 36-16 loss to Castleford Tigers.
Winger Mason Caton-Brown is also set to drop out, despite being named in the initial 19-man squad. Chester said: “Craig took a really bad cork last weekend. He got it early on, but managed to play the rest of the game.
“He’s missing and we’ll have to make a change with Mason Caton-Brown.
“He got a whack in the face and has some symptoms.
“Max Jowitt will play full-back this week and we’ll probably put Rocky [Ryan Hampshire] out there [on the wing].
“We have the option of putting Bill Tupou out there and bringing in Joe Arundel into centre, but I’m a bit reluctant to do that.”
Tyler Randell, a late withdrawal from last week’s side because of a knee injury, is back in contention and Chris Annakin has been drafted into the initial squad.
Prop Joe Bullock (knee) and scrum-half Thomas Leuluai (back) drop out from the Wigan team beaten at St Helens last week.
Jack Wells and Academy prop Ethan Havard have been drafted into the 19 and Tony Clubb and Jarrod Sammut are also in contention.
Wigan Warriors: from Burgess, Byrne, Clubb, Farrell, Gildart, Hankinson, Hardaker, Havard, Isa, Marshall, Navarette, Partington, Powell, Sammut, Sarginson, Shorrocks, Smithies, Wells, Williams.
Wakefield Trinity: Annakin, Arundel, Batchelor, Brough, Caton-Brown, Crowther, England, Hampshire, Hirst, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, King, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Tanginoa, Tupou, Wood.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 7.45pm.