Swinton Lions captain Rhodri Lloyd says relegation to League 1 will only motivate the side as they head into the 2022 League 1 campaign as joint-favourites.
The Lions finished at the bottom of the Championship last season with just two wins.
Head coach Allan Coleman signed a permanent deal until at least the end of the 2022 season, and he will be looking to use his first pre-season in charge to ready his side for a promotion battle.
Lloyd committed his future to the club for the 2022 season earlier in October. The Wales international played for Swinton back in their promotion season of 2015, and has gone on to make 143 appearances for the club.
They head into the new year as joint-favourites with Keighley, and are aiming to bounce straight back up.
Swinton Lions looking for promotion back to Championship
“We’ve got a pretty relaxed environment,” Lloyd said when asked about any pressure.
“We have a load of lads now, which is quite rare at Swinton, that have been around the block quite a long time.
“We’re not young pups anymore. We are getting older and we are maturing. I think we’ll learn a lot from relegation from last year.
“We’ve kept the core of boys that did get relegated and I think there’s a massive inspiration for us to move forward and get promoted.
“We see ourselves as a Championship team and a mid-table Championship team. I know we’re not there at the moment, but that’s where we see ourselves.
“We will be trying to emulate the success we had in 2019 and when we won the League 1 Shield.”
One eye on World Cup but promotion main aim
Lloyd is Wales’ youngest ever capped senior international player, and has gone on to win 18 caps for his country.
He featured for Wales in the Rugby League 9s World Cup. The Swinton club captain will have his sights on a World Cup spot. However, he says promotion is the main aim.
“There’s always an eye on that (World Cup),” he said.
“But I think first things first is getting everything right at Swinton. We’ve got one target this year and that’s promotion, but I will have a personal eye on the World Cup.
“The important thing is keeping fit, keeping healthy and then impressing John.”