Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why Hungry Wolves Need to Stay Focused ; Ashcroft Warns Wembley Winners Not to Take Foot off the Gas

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why Hungry Wolves Need to Stay Focused ; Ashcroft Warns Wembley Winners Not to Take Foot off the Gas

Article excerpt

WEMBLEY winners Warrington Wolves have been ordered to limit their Challenge Cup celebrations if they want more success in the forthcoming Super League play-offs.

Winning the double is a very tall order, according to former Warrington skipper Kevin Ashcroft, who is calling for Tony Smith's players to remain fresh and focused after their Wembley win over Leeds.

Skipper Adrian Morley has already set his sights on leading out the Wolves at Old Trafford but Ashcroft is urging caution with two games still to play before the play-offs start. Ashcroft, a former Wembley winner himself, told MEN Sport: "To win the cup and then go on and battle through the play-offs is a sizeable task.

"Success is not guaranteed. "It's a tall order to win both trophies because of the timing. Trust me, it takes two to three weeks to fully recover from being involved in a Wembley final.

"Warrington have fallen short in the past after winning at Wembley. I just cannot understand the format of having the final at this time of the year just before the play-offs.

"For starters, it is not fair on clubs and it's asking an awful lot of the winners to go on and win at Old Trafford.

"A fresh team will always beat a jaded one and it doesn't matter how many superstars play for the team that is not 100 per cent.

"When a team wins at Wembley it's special and it's tradition in our game for the cup to go on a tour of the town. The fans and the sponsors expect and deserve this.

"This will happen - every day and night of the week for a while now.

"This is what takes its toll and can detract from a player's focus and what is coming up in the next few weeks.

"Training schedules can become disrupted and it's easy to lose sharpness. This has possibly happened in the past.

"You have to try and guard against it the best you can.

"That is easier said than done and this is what I mean about the timing adding to the pressures of wanting to win another trophy in a very short time. …

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