Cullen Previews Wolves SeasonWolves Coach, Paul Cullen, is one of the few coaches to have also played for his home town club, notching 350 appearances in a 15 year career. Taking on the role of assistant coach to Darryl Van de Velde before finally making a return to Wilderspool last season as Head Coach to lead a club that is very much in his blood and heart. Paul previews the close season and what is in store for a challenging final season at one of the oldest Rugby League grounds in the country.It's the last season at Wilderspool, so obviously everyone will want to make it one to remember. How has the pre-season gone?Things have gone as well as we could have expected, when we sat down and planned our pre and off-seasons. After one of the worst games in the club's history, when we lost against Wakefield on the final day of Super League VII, our team call has constantly been to leave Wilderspool with dignity.Your arrival caused a big buzz in the town. Have you noticed a real sense of optimism in Warrington ahead of the start of Super League VIII, and if so how hard will it be to justify it?There will be no false boasts or unreachable goals set. We simply have to be the best that we can be. I think the town is desperate for a credible team to support as opposed to making demands on the play-offs or final positions. The new stadium and the season that leads to it have to be the catalyst to put this club back where it belongs.Huddersfield Giants have finished bottom of the Super League on four occasions. You kick off the season there on Saturday how important is it to get off to a flying start?It is vital to get off to a winning start at Huddersfield on Saturday. When we prepared our training schedules; we had no idea whether we would be playing Bradford, Leeds, St Helens, Wigan or whoever and planned accordingly. Our fitness levels are acceptable and still improving, and we have had a trouble-free build-up to the game. We are carrying bumps and bruises, like a lot of other clubs, but go into it confident - although we are expecting an extremely tough game.There seem to be a lot of good youngsters coming through the ranks. Jamie Durbin and Nick Owen in particular have caught the eye, but havenĘt been given squad numbers. What is the reasoning behind that, and who should we be looking out for this season?I have only named 24 of the 25 permitted in the squad because it is a very even call between Jamie Durbin, Nick Owen and Craig Farrimond, who did very well against Widnes in pre-season. Any of them could arguably get into the squad and I want to keep my options open. As to who people should be looking for, one young man who has come into the squad is 18-year-old winger Dean Gaskell. He is one of the fastest and fittest guys I have ever come across and we expect big things of him this year. He was cut by Wigan last year and my assistant, Paul Darbyshire, had no hesitation bringing him in.
20, Feb, 2003