TONY Smith is feeling no pressure to secure Warrington Wolves’ first win of the year on Sunday.
Despite losing the opening two matches of the season for the first time since his arrival in 2009, Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby has priorities beyond that of a two-point haul against Hull FC at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, kick off 3pm.
“There is no pressure, at least no more than any other game,” he said.
“Whether we had already picked up two wins or where we are now, it is the same for us.
“The result is less important than the improvement of the performance, as long as we are better than we were against Leeds.
“There are still some things we would like to improve, but the only pressure we feel is the pressure we put on each other and ourselves to perform better each and every week.”
That is all well and good, but no team has ever won Super League having lost their opening three games, and Hull FC showed against Saints that they will be as tough a test as ever on Sunday.
At what point does getting the result become paramount to the improvements on the pitch?
“Never,” said Smith.
“It is always about performance for us, you get that consistent and in the right sort of manner and the wins will come.
“It is all about performance and reproducing that consistently.
“That has been our focus for five years and we continue in that vein.”
Wolves’ preparations suffered a blow when forward Simon Grix rolled his ankle in training, an injury that Smith admits could see the 28-year-old return to the sidelines for a month or more.
Fellow packman Ben Harrison’s return from abdominal surgery means that a straight swap between the two is likely in this week’s 19-man squad, while Matty Russell’s final fitness test on Friday comes too late for inclusion in the Super League squad.
Smith’s praise of Wolves’ improved kicking game suggests Gareth O’Brien and Richie Myler will retain their partnership in the halves, while the Wolves boss also suggested Gene Ormsby had done enough on debut to get a second career Super League start against the Airlie Birds.