Featherstone Rovers head coach Jon Sharp believes Featherstone’s pursuit of a top four place will be even harder next year.
After narrowly missing out on a Qualifiers berth last season, Fev shall now face four teams who have received far greater financial distributions for their higher finishes last season.
As a result, Featherstone have lost a number of key players, including Will Sharp and Gareth Moore to Halifax.
In response, Rovers have brought in the likes of Castleford’s Michael Channing, Darrell Griffin and former Dewsbury halfback Anthony Thackeray ahead of 2016.
Whilst Sharp is confident his team can achieve a top four spot, he acknowledged that it is going to be a difficult task.
“We’ve got a real battle on our hands,” said Sharp.
“We have four teams benefitting from the middle eights and that has helped their budgets and we have an extra full-time team in Sheffield. It’s going to be a tough year for us but a year we’re looking forward to.
“I’m really pleased with the recruitment and the retention of some really good players that had interest from other clubs but decided to stay loyal to the club.
“We’ve brought some really good players in and they’re good characters. We’re pleased with how the squad has shaped up and now we’ve just got one or two pieces of the jigsaw to add. We are striving to improve the squad but if it doesn’t happen we’re happy with what we’ve got.”
A number of Featherstone players opted to remain at the Big Fella’s Stadium over moves elsewhere, and Sharp insists that is proof of the progress being made at the club.
“The ambitions of the club are inspiring players to stay,” he said.
“I think it’s testimony to the club and what’s happening behind the scenes. The training facilities are second to none and the stadium is as good as any in the Championship.
“Ultimately we know we’re going to lose one or two, but we’re fine with that because we want lads coming through our system to kick on, play in Super League and eventually represent their country.”