Andy Last is adamant he can get the best out of Jake Connor.
But he has warned he may not play regularly in his preferred stand-off position this year.
Connor has longed for a spell at stand-off and was given that opportunity at the start of the season, despite being unable to hit his best form in 2019.
But he found himself back at centre before the lockdown as the Black and Whites struggled for form at the start of the year.
Last, the club’s interim head coach for the year, says he has no doubt about Connor’s ability but has challenged him to temper his frustrations during the rest of the season.
“He’s a real attacking weapon,” he said.
“Long-term, his goals are to be the starting six and with Albert (Kelly) going home that opportunity will present itself.
“But I think the biggest challenge for Jake Connor is accepting the challenge of the role he’ll play this year. He might not play as a starting six each week, he might start as a centre, where he’s got international honours, he might find himself challenging Jamie Shaul at fullback. But I hope Jake understands I have so much confidence in his ability and complete trust that we can get the best out of him.
“In this shortened season he might play a bit of a hybrid role and that’s probably going to be the case for the majority of the players in the squad. The squads with that mentality will come out the best.
“But he’s an extremely talented player, I think the issues Jake’s had are more mental and the frustrations he has during the course of a game. He’s a competitor and it’s evident when he plays because he wants to win. It’s something I want to channel in the right way, I want to educate him a bit and try get him playing to a consistent level.”
Last has completed his first week of training with the squad after they reported back on Monday, and he complimented the club for ensuring their pay cut agreements were in place long before they returned to the paddock.
“It’s a big relief and I can only applaud the owner (Adam Pearson) and James Clark who led those negotiations and also the players who were understanding of the financial position. “Everyone has to suffer a bit of pain and we’ve all accepted that, because we’re in it together. If you can come through these moments of adversity it can have a kick-on effect for years to come.”