Rochdale Hornets have hired Alan Kilshaw as head coach following the departure of Ian Talbot.
Kilshaw joins the club after three years coaching in Australia as an assistant with the Mackay Cutters and as head coach of Sarina Crocodiles. He led Sarina to the minor premiership this season and a grand final appearance.
The former St Helens junior is looking forward to the 2016 season.
“I believe a club of our stature should be playing in the Championship and promotion is a goal but we will be focusing on the process week to week, not getting too far ahead of ourselves,” Kilshaw said.
“That means our immediate focus is pre-season and making sure we put the foundations in place to be challenging for the top spots and going deep into the cup competitions.
“I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say the team underachieved last season, but saying that they still only fell one short of the play-offs coming down from the Championship the season before when five teams came down.
“I feel there could have been a bit of a hangover from that disappointment, but it’s now a fresh start for everyone and we will look forward to next season.”
Rochdale finished sixth in League 1 with 14 wins and eight losses from 22 games.
Kilshaw said his main priority now is to retain the majority of the current Hornets squad.
“I think there’s a very good roster already in place and I will be adding some players to enhance the quality of that group to offset a couple of retirements and departures,” he said.
“We have already agreed terms with a couple of players and will announce in due course.
“I’d like us to play a good brand of rugby league but we need to earn the right first. I like my teams to have a no-nonsense aggressive attitude and out-work the opposition in defence.
“We will try and get the balance right between structured and ad-lib rugby.”
Kilshaw believes promotion to the Championship next year for Rochdale is possible.
“Without a doubt yes but you need certain factors to go your way in any given season in terms of player availability through injuries and suspension and a bit of luck along the way,” he said.
“We will control what we can control and focus on the week to week.”