Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell is pleased with the way his squad is shaping up for the 2016 Super League season.
Another addition was made this week with the season long loan capture of Ryan Hampshire from Wigan Warriors and although there have been a number of players leaving the club in the off season Powell believes his new squad can take Castleford to the next level.
He told the Express: “Obviously it’s early days, but I’m pretty excited by the squad we’ve assembled this year.
“There’s a couple of names to be announced yet, but there’s a real consistency and toughness about our forward pack and our back line is freshened up a little bit with some new faces in there.
“We’ve got a great opportunity in front of us. If we can get our pre-season right and start the season well we’ve got a great opportunity to take a step further than we did last year.”
Powell is delighted to have exciting young talent Hampshire on board for next year after Cas and Wigan agreed a deal that sees the 20-year-old half-back or full-back spend a year at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
“I’m excited by Ryan as a player,” said Powell.
“I had a real good chat with him and he’s really keen to play at half-back.
“Obviously we’ve got Luke Gale and Benny Roberts, who did a great job for us last year, particularly Galey and towards the back end when Benny played really well at half. But everybody needs competition.
“Ryan Hampshire’s a sharp player. He’s got a lot of ability, particularly as a runner and I think he will be great for us.
“He gives us a freshness and some real spark and he’s a player I’m really looking forward to working with.”
Hampshire will join his new team-mates, who returned to pre-season training on Monday for a 12-week preparation period that will include a break from the routine of the last few years with a training camp abroad.
“We’re going to Lanzarote in January, going to Club La Santa, which will lead us into our pre-season games and give us a real good finish to our pre-season and some real fine tuning,” explained Powell.
“We’re looking towards the start of the season and it will be a key time for us.”