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Lee Radford speaks about pre-season and captaincy

In a few days, we’ll all be welcoming a new beginning as the new year kicks in. But Castleford Tigers have already welcomed a new era at the club with Lee Radford taking the reins after eight fantastic years under Daryl Powell.

Radford has also been busy in the transfer market bringing in a number of exciting signings such as Joe Westerman, George Lawler and Jake Mamo. This has led many Castleford fans to feel the Tigers have a real chance of securing a place in the top six maybe even the top four.

However, to do so they’ll need to enjoy a successful pre-season and in an interview with the club’s website, Lee Radford has shed some light on the club’s preparations.

It seems Radford is pleased with their pre-season so far as he looks to add to his two Challenge Cups with Hull FC: “It’s been good, pre-season is obviously preparation for the season ahead and to date it has gone well.

“There’s still plenty of stuff to iron out but how the lads have applied themselves I’ve been really impressed, and hopefully we kick it up and step it up again when we come back after Christmas.

“The skillset amongst the players across the board has been really high, they’ve been good in general with their attitude and eagerness when coming into training. It has been a real ‘under the radar’ build-up to the start of the campaign.”

He was also keen to praise his staff: “The chemistry of the staff is really good, the people I’ve worked with previously know what we’re about and you know what they are about too. The people that have been here a while, they’ve been really helpful in guiding us on what we needed to change and what we can change.”

Many have pointed out the depth Castleford now have in their squad after some fantastic recruitment. The Tigers have options in virtually every position and that has ensured they not only have a strong 17 but also a strong squad.

It seems that Radford is pleased with the way his squad is shaping up: “I honestly think as a group they’ve gone really well; I think what has happened is over the last couple of weeks as we’ve gone into more football stuff the gap has probably grown a little, you can see some of the difference in players.

“As a coach, that is then for us to put some programmes in place to try and make that gap smaller. But like I said they all bring the main ingredients which is their energy, they’re bouncing in a morning and that gives you something to work for every day.”

Not only do the club have a new coach for the first time since 2013, they’ll also have a new skipper for the first time since 2013 due to the retirement of Michael Shenton. However, Radford has confirmed that he is yet to settle on a new captain but has created a senior player group: “It’s not just their leadership skills, but their communications skills are really high as well, that has surprised me a little bit, one or two who stepped up in that department and one or two who is maybe quieter than I thought. The group itself is an old side, the average age of the side is not young, so there is plenty of experience and plenty of games under their belts.”

It is believed by many that 2020 Man of Steel Paul McShane will however take on the captain’s armband supported by this group of senior players.

To read the full interview visit the Tigers’ website here.

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