Chester RUFC head coach Jan van Deventer is predicting a tougher season than last in National League 2 North but remains optimistic about another good showing from his side.
Chester finished fifth in the league under van Deventer last season but with teams such as Macclesfield, Blaydon and Huddersfield coming into the division this time around the standard of competition has increased.
But, buoyed by a positive pre-season campaign and strength in depth, van Deventer fully expects the Hare Lane outfit to be a competitive force once again as they begin their season on Saturday with a trip to Tynedale.
“Pre-season has gone really well for us, the training has been great and we have been getting great numbers and we have more strength in depth than we had last season,” he said.
“We were strong last year and I think we’ve improved with some of the guys we have brought in but I think that the league will be tougher this season due to the teams that are coming into it.
“Huddersfield have come up from the league below and they will be strong and then you have the likes of Blaydon and Macclesfield coming down from the league above.
“There is three strong sides who will make this league tougher and I think that it will be the case that teams across the league get stronger, too. But that’s also the case for us.”
Chester were a force to be reckoned with last season and, while keen to enjoy another good season on the field, van Deventer says that there are no set goals for his squad, but believes that a positive mindset will make for an equally positive campaign.
“We’ve worked hard to change the mindset as a squad and move us forward,” he said.
“We haven’t set ourselves specific goals for what we want to achieve this season but my main aim is to ensure that these guys enjoy their rugby and enjoy playing for Chester.
“I’m a firm believer that if players enjoy themselves and have that positive frame of mind in training and matches then the results follow suit in games.”