Bridlington RUFC’s new head coach Paul Cook believes his side could make a surprise bid for a top four place in Yorkshire One, if they get off to a successful start.
Cook has succeeded Rich Girking at Dukes Park and says he has been impressed by the young squad after the first few training sessions.
Bridlington finished 11th last season, but were only 13 points behind fifth-placed Scarborough and Cook believes his squad can make significant progress.
He said: “If we can make sure we are in the top half at Christmas, it gives us the platform to push for the top four in the second half of the season, and after that, who knows?
“Last year, everybody knew that Doncaster Phoenix were going to win the league. This time there are a few teams who could be contenders.
“It is a much more open field and I think there is no obvious favourite.”
Cook arrives from Hull Ionians, where he was coaching the U17, U18 and U19 teams.
During his playing days, he lined up alongside his predecessor Girking at the Hull club, and he has been involved in the player development programme with Yorkshire Carnegie.
The 43-year-old, an IT teacher at Hymers College in Hull, where he also coaches rugby, added: “This is my first senior head coach role and it will be a good challenge, a new opportunity.
“At Bridlington, there is a very good young squad and the key word there is young.
“The squad is not full of 35-year-olds, there are a lot of lads in their early 20s and there is a lot of potential.
“There are some good players and I am looking to bring some structure.
“Training has gone well so far and the feedback has been good about some of the new ideas so it is encouraging.”
South African forwards Ntsikayomzi Daka and Siphesihle Ngubane have returned home, but Australian full back Jack Arthur will be back for a second season.
Otis Floyd and Callum Sanderson are due back from their six months in New Zealand in time for the start of the new season, and they will be joined by a Kiwi prop and fly-half who are due to land in East Yorkshire in the next fortnight.
Bridlington will face Hull Ionians in a friendly at Dukes Park on Saturday, and the 2nds and 3rds go to Driffield for a 10’s competition for members of the East Yorkshire Merit Leagues.
The firsts then travel to Hullensians on Tuesday, August 25 to prepare for their first competitive game, a Yorkshire Shield encounter at Bradford and Bingley the following Saturday.
The first league game is at home to promoted West Park Leeds on September 6, while the traditional Turnbull Trophy match against Driffield has been scheduled for Saturday, January 2.