Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Chester holds no grudges over sacking by next opponents Hull KR

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats head coach Chris Chester has revealed he was not surprised by Hull KR’s decision to sack him after just three games this season – as he had already got a feeling they were preparing the way last year.

He will face his former club tonight for the first time since his February exit, when Rovers removed him following a winless start to Super League.

Chris Chester

Chris Chester

Chester took over struggling hometown Wakefield only three weeks later and has overseen nine wins from 11 games since in a remarkable turnaround.

With Rovers, he took them to Wembley last August, his first full campaign since stepping up from assistant, but also missed out on the top-eight.

Asked if he was surprised the East Yorkshire club relieved him of duties so early in this campaign, after a draw and two losses, Chester replied: “No. I got a sense towards the back end of the season before that things weren’t going particularly well.

“I don’t think I have anything to prove (now). I got them to a Challenge Cup final for the first time in 30 years and hold no grudges.

“It’s just one of those unfortunate things that happens in sport where they wanted a fresh change. They thought things had gone stale. I can cop that.

“I dusted myself down and was fortunate enough to get a job here at Wakefield Wildcats that I really enjoy.

“But I wish the club well; we parted amicably and it’s a club close to my heart.

“They gave me my first opportunity – first as an assistant but then as a head coach – and I can’t thank people at the top like (chairman) Neil Hudgell, (vice-chairman) Rob Crossland, (CEO) Mike Smith (finance director) Anthony Langley, those kind of people who stood by me during the tough times.”

Ahead of tonight’s game at Belle Vue, a Trinity victory could almost end Rovers’ chances of making the top-eight once more.

Wakefield, meanwhile, sit in sixth and Chester feels two more wins would secure a rare place in the play-offs.

The 38-8 defeat at Salford Red Devils last Friday was only their first loss in six outings and he is expecting a response.

“We were disappointed with the performance,” admitted the 37-year-old, whose side trailed just 10-4 at the break but were down to 11 men with Danny Kirmond and Ben Jones-Bishop both sin-binned.

“It just shows how far we’ve come as a group. I didn’t really have to say too much after the game or in the review – the guys genuinely took over.

“They were very disappointed with themselves and knew they were a long way off in a lot of areas.

“But the one good thing about this group of players is that when we have had a defeat we bounce back the following week.

“We’ll see tomorrow night how far we’ve come as a group.”

Kirmond (tripping) serves a one-game ban and Jones-Bishop (hamstring) is out, but Reece Lyne comes in as does Jon Molloy, while Stuart Howarth is also in contention.

Meanwhile, Trinity utility-back Craig Hall – out of contract this season – has revealed he is contemplating a potential move to new League 1 side Toronto Wolfpack – based in Canada – as well as Wakefield’s offer of a new deal.