A confident Douthwaite said: “We’re as prepared as possible and we’ve had a great pre-season. We’ve been training hard to prepare ourselves and we know it’s only going to get tougher.”
The Pirates stormed to the title last season but Douthwaite is fully aware of the challenge ahead, he added: “It’s going to be a lot tougher, it definitely won’t be as easy as last year. Despite the challenge we face we’re aiming for a play-off position. There’s no point in being there if you’re not going to aim high.”
The first division is a much tougher competition but Douthwaite believes the team can do well.
He said: “I’m confident we’ll do alright this season but we’re facing new sides that we’re going to have to suss out.
“Hopefully we can overcome them and get to where we want to be.”
Illingworth are Saturday’s opponents and Douthwaite said: “They’ve moved from the winter league to the summer league so it’s a tough way to open the season, but it will be the same for each game as every team is a new opponent.”
The game is at home and Douthwaite can’t wait to be back in front of the Pirates wonderful support.
He said: “There’s always a good following at Eastway, there’s a great buzz around the place and that helped us during the unbeaten record that we achieved.
“We’re hoping to kick on and get on another roll to take us forward.”