Captain Ollie Wilkes is hoping to keep spirits high in Workington Town’s squad while the wait goes on for a new head coach to be appointed.

The experienced skipper has been placed in charge with the help of the club’s current coaching staff since the departure of Leon Pryce last Tuesday and led the team in their 32-26 defeat at Keighley Cougars on Sunday.

Wilkes does not know whether he will still be at the helm when Town travel to take on Hunslet in the first round of the 1895 Cup on Saturday but hopes to generate a positive atmosphere in training for as long as he has caretaker duties.

“We need to perform and enjoy it,” he said.

“There has obviously been a lot of upset at the club over the last week or two but it has to be business as usual so we’ll put that behind us.

“I just want to steady the ship and get people enjoying themselves at training.

“As long as I’ve got the duties I’ll keep it as fun as possible.

“We all play rugby because we love it – getting paid for it is just a bonus – and it’s making sure people remember that.

“You can’t coach commitment and desire but you can make people happy and try to get the best out of them.

“We’ll keep it positive and don’t want any negativity around the place.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to be in charge at the weekend, nevermind next weekend.

“It’s not something I ever wanted to do because I want to focus on playing.”

Wilkes admitted it had been frustrating selecting a side from a squad dominated by front-rowers due to the lack of available backs and believes the board of directors and incoming head coach will need to put their heads together and come up with a solution.

He stressed that the season was not lost by any means but felt the loss of Elliott Miller to injury had hit the team hard and with a number of players having to play out of position, he said recruitment is vital.

“We were lacking in the backs and we have been all season,” Wilkes said.

“I understand how difficult it was for Leon to pick a side when you’re trying to cram in so many forwards.

“We had a decent week in training but had 19 players to pick from and a lot of them were front-rowers.

“We do need to recruit.

“The lads’ effort was there but you’ve got players playing out of position all over the pitch which just doesn’t work.

“One or two you can cope with but when it’s five or six it’s so hard.”