Swinton Lions have 14 players training under Ian Watson, and the former Wales international is confident they will be competitive, despite the club’s recent troubles.
Talks are taking place between the current owners and a consortium of local businessmen who are keen to take over the club.
Watson has been kept up-to-date with the discussions, and for the last five weeks has been taking training, along with his assistant Marlon Billy.
Watson, the most capped international in Welsh history, has fielded interest for his services from London Broncos, Leeds, Barrow and North Wales during the close season.
But now he looks certain to take charge of the Lions, and will continue to play himself for one more season.
He has assembled 14 players who have agreed terms to play for Swinton in 2014, while former Lions Dale Cuniffe and Mike Morrison will also return to the club.
And, despite being well behind his Championship counterparts, Watson is confident that he will have a competitive side come the first day of the season.
“Five weeks ago we didn’t really have any players, but we’ve got a good group together now,” Watson said.
“We want people that understand the club and will be competitors at all costs.
“I think we’ll be okay – it’s a challenge now.
“Most teams will write us off, but we have plenty of competitive people who will bust a gut for the cause straight away.
“We will also have the Warrington link-up as well so I think we’ll be alright.
“I’ve been speaking to the people involved in the consortium bid, and everything looks really positive now.
“It looks like Swinton will be back on the front foot again.”