Super League: Matt Diskin and Michael Shenton optimistic heading into new season
Matt Diskin and Michael Shenton are both hoping for a turnaround in fortunes ahead of the new Super League season.
Last Updated: 04/02/14 10:26pm
Diskin of Bradford Bulls and Shenton of Castleford both endured difficult campaigns in 2013 but are convinced better times are just around the corner.
Bradford's preparation for the new Super League season have once again been hampered by ownership issues with the board still needing to settle debts of around £400,000 and the clubs financial problems have meant uncertainty for the players.
"It's been a turbulent few years up at Bradford," admitted Diskin. "This off-season has been no different. The players are getting quite seasoned to that. We are getting used to it, but it still does have an effect.
"To get to the Super League has been an effort in itself...it has been a circus at times and it's been a little bit embarrassing with how the whole things come about.
"At the end of the day we've secured a future hopefully, pending ratification from the RFL. We are all set to play Super League this year and ready to battle for the top eight.
"We're very confident in the squad in the sense of the quality and personnel we've got. Regarding numbers we are not as strong as other teams so we are suspect to a weakened area if we get injuries.
"We are not going to be able to sustain performances as well as other teams but if we keep everyone fit and everyone well we can compete against the best of them."
Castleford have lost former Man of Steel Rangi Chase to Salford, but Shenton thinks they have improved enough not to worry about relegation. He also believes they will surprise people - and they are targeting the play-offs.
"We don't consider ourselves in that bottom two," Shenton told Sky Sports News. "I don't think that's going to be an issue for us - we are more looking at the top eight to be honest.
"We're happy being the underdogs - I can understand people looking at who we've lost and the amount of people we had to bring in to gel our squad together."
"However, we've had a great pre-season and we've had a good couple of friendlies that have tested us. We are just really confident for the start of the New Year."
"I think we took a massive step forward since the World Cup - I really think that was a big success. The RFL took a big step with Super League it just feels like someone's behind driving the game where it's felt dead the last couple of years. "
"There's a bit more investment going into it and there's some really great players knocking about. I think everyone's teams are getting stronger and stronger."
Super League XIX starts on Friday when Wigan take on Huddersfield, live on Sky Sports 1HD at 7pm