Hull FC happy to be 'miles ahead' in preparations for Super League 2013
PETER Gentle expects Hull FC to reap the dividends of being "miles ahead" of where they were 12 months ago.
Currently putting his plans in place for the start of pre-season training in four weeks' time, Gentle says the club are in a significantly better position ahead of next season than they were when he took over 12 months ago.
Arriving in Autumn 2011 with a squad already put in place and much of the pre-season timeline confirmed, Gentle spent the early weeks and months of his tenure trying to get to know his players.
Having brought in 10 players of his own over the past 12 months and moved several on, the Aussie now has a squad of his making.
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And preparing for his second pre-season at the Black and Whites, Gentle says he's in a much stronger position to be able to plan for the new campaign.
"There is still plenty of work to be done, but we are in a lot better situation this time than we were last year," he told the Mail.
"I came in late last season, new players were still arriving and we were still sorting through the squad, so there was a lot going on and a lot to get on top of.
"Whereas this year there is a lot more structure, we've got the players in place who we want already and we know what we are doing with those individuals after spending a year with most of them.
"We are miles ahead of where we were this time last year. It's only a couple of weeks since we finished, but already we are looking forward to starting again. I cannot wait."
Hull's pre-season officially starts on November 5, but the majority of the senior players, including new signings Ben Galea and Daniel Holdsworth, have been given until December 3 before being told to report for duty after the pair returned home to Australia.
Making the most of the early weeks with his young guns, Gentle intends to acclimatise his new academy graduates such as full-back Jamie Shaul, while also working further with the likes of improving forwards Josh Bowden and Chris Green.
Unlike last year, Gentle has opted to give his players a break over Christmas, before returning for a warm-weather training camp in Tenerife on January 3.
Hull will then play three pre-season friendly matches, two against Super League opposition and one against a Championship side as RFL rules stipulate a match must be against lower league opponents.
Hull are expected to announce they will again take on city rivals Hull KR and will face Castleford Tigers for Kirk Yeaman's testimonial.
Gentle added: "We are giving the boys a break in pre-season this time. Last year we trained right through Christmas because we were playing catch-up, but that won't be the case this year.
"We are really happy with the programme of trial games and the timing of the training camp which worked well for us last year.
"Now the coaching staff are all looking forward to getting going again."