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Rochdale: We’re not thinking about survival

Rochdale achieved promotion from League 1 last season but Hornets head coach Alan Kilshaw has his sights set on a top eight finish in the Championship in 2017.

The Hornets went up into the second division after a memorable win away to Toulouse in the play-off final. But the club doesn’t just want to stay in the Championship.

“We want to be pushing into the top eight, we don’t want to be looking below and talking about survival,” Kilshaw told Love Rugby League.

“I think this group has got a lot of potential and if you start setting your goals too low and you fall short of them you could be in a bit of trouble.”

Kilshaw has praised the efforts of the new signings, which have come into the club during pre-season.

He said: “We have got ten new signings and they have all integrated really well.

“They have all brought something different to the group and we do a lot of homework on lads to make sure we’re getting good people.

“The average age of the side is 24 so there’s a lot of excitement.

“We have got lads who have played in the Championship before with Rochdale who felt they didn’t do the best last year.

“We have got lads who we’ve brought in from Halifax and Oldham and they want to establish themselves in the competition as well.”

With the number of players that have arrived, Kilshaw says their recruitment is almost complete.

“We would never rule anyone out but we’d like to think that most of our business has been done,” he said.

“We’ve always got dual registration if we need that but if someone came on the market it would have to be really appealing to us.”

Kilshaw said he his pleased to see a number of players from last year like Samir Tahraoui stay on at Rochdale for the 2017 campaign.

“It is good that they have shown loyalty to the club and we have shown loyalty to them as well,” he said.

“Last year was the first of a project and those players are much better for that season.”

There have been suggestions from some quarters that Rochdale relieved heavily on their dual registration agreement last season with Warrington. But Kilshaw denied that was the case.

“We used players when we needed them,” he said.

“Our players get to play for their reserves and we get to use the facilities as well.

“The indoor barn and the gym is probably one of the best facilities in the world of Rugby League, including both NRL and Super League so that’s a massive plus for us.”

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