HEAD coach John Kear concedes that the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats face an enormous challenge as they embark on a testing week of Super League XVI action.
St Helens visit the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Sunday in round 21 before Wildcats travel to table toppers Wigan Warriors next Friday.
Kear said: “The general view within the game is that Saints, Wigan, Huddersfield and Warrington are going to contend this year and we are playing two of the four in the next week.”
After last Sunday’s 70-14 drubbing at Hull KR, the Trinity boss admitted that his side were “in a hole” and needed to improve fast.
He said: “We weren’t good enough and our effort and application must improve.
“We haven’t done ourselves justice in the last two games but we have been down to the bare bones and we have to work with what we’ve got.”
The absence of skipper Glenn Morrison, Stuart Howarth, Chris Dean, Paul Johnson and Aaron Murphy has hit the Wildcats hard and the loss of the team’s most consistent performers has resulted in the younger members of the squad facing a “baptism of fire” according to Kear who added: “It is tough for them but I am certain that they will benefit from the experience in the long run.”
New signing Jarrad Hickey is set to miss the Saints’ visit with a leg injury but both Aaron Murphy and Paul Johnson are “looking hopeful” of a return to action this weekend according to Kear.
Gareth Moore is still out with hamstring and back injuries and it is unclear how long he will remain on the sidelines.
Morrison is still facing weeks out with his hand injury but Kear is expecting his captain to be back in time for the game at Warrington Wolves on August 14.
Read tomorrow’s Wakefield Express for more on this story and the latest news from the Wakefield Wildcats.