Wildcats set to be without new boys
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats could start the new First Utility Super League season without as many as four of their new signings.
Wildcats coach Richard Agar has been forced to virtually rebuild his squad after the club sold five of their best players to pay off debts and, with just three weeks to go before the opening game, is still unsure when his overseas recruits will arrive.
Samoa's World Cup half-back or hooker Pita Godinet and Australian forwards Scott Anderson and Matty Ryan are still waiting for their visas to arrive and the club have yet to complete a move for former Penrith half-back Harry Seijka, 21, a former Australian schoolboy international.
"It's not ideal," Agar said at the club's pre-season media day. "We didn't start recruiting until November and obviously visas take time.
"We've done all the paperwork and the guys have done the biometric testing so it's just a case of waiting for that letter to pop through the letter box.
"I spoke to them all yesterday and they've their bags packed ready to get on the first available plane.
"It's hard to put a time-scale on it. It could be a week, it could be two weeks. It will be tight for round one but we are hopeful they will be here with enough time to have good enough preparation for that game."
Agar confirmed today that he will be unlikely to add to his squad and that the Wildcats have released half-back Bobbie Goulding, who kicked a penalty that earned them a draw at Leeds Rhinos on Boxing Day.
"We wanted to keep him but we just haven't been able to find the necessary funds," Agar said. "Hopefully we'll help him to find another club."
Wakefield have also signed three former Leeds players in Daniel Smith, Richard Moore and Paul McShane and two others on loan in Jimmy Keinhorst and Luke Briscoe to help offset the considerable loss of Tim Smith, Ben Cockayne, Justin Poore, Kyle Amor and Paul Aiton.
Agar, who will be without forward Chris Annakin for the start of the season because of a knee injury, admits he may have to call on 16-year-olds Jordan Crowther and Max Jowitt, who have been given places in his 25-man squad.
But he remains optimistic that his team can defy the pundits who have already made Wakefield and London Broncos favourites to become the first clubs to be relegated under the new league structure.
"With all the upheaval that's gone on, people are quite naturally going to look at us and London but it's not something we're concerning ourselves too much with," Agar said.
"The stability of the club was paramount and we had to pick up from the wreckage of that.
"I think, given the circumstances, we've managed to come out of it pretty good. We've put together what will be a competitive squad.
"We will evolve and get better as the season goes on. We have had the experience of going through this once more so we're not going to panic.
"This is my third season here and I've never been more excited about a crop of juniors that we've got at the club and in particular two or three that we've got in our first team."
Wakefield chairman Michael Carter, who says the club have sold just sort of 2,000 season tickets, confirmed the club do not need to sell any more players but admits that finances remain tight.
"Since September we've managed to put out a fair few fires," Carter said.
"I would still love somebody to come in to provide extra investment or to join the board but, as things stand, we're on a fairly even keel.
"We knew all along that 2014 would be difficult but I think Richard will get the best out of what's at his disposable.
"He will probably have the second lowest spend of all the clubs and to finish anything above second from bottom would be a fantastic achievement."