Dave Woods has admitted he is disappointed North-East rugby fans aren't getting behind his developing Gateshead Thunder side - and hopes to see more turn out for a rare Saturday game at the Thunderdome.
There is a proven support-base for the sport in the region - with an average gate of more than 3,000 when the club were in the high-profile Super League showing what can happen if Woods could build a successful team.
And while he is the first to admit the side aren't playing as well as they should be, he is worried people are turning their back on the club for the wrong reasons.
"I've heard rumours people have turned away from us because of the way we're playing, but we had a real good win in the first round against York and people didn't turn out to support us the game after," said a coach who is adamant this season is simply the first stage in a much larger plan.
"We always knew this was going to be a transitional season and we aren't winning games every week - which is what people obviously want to see - but I'd like to see people turning out to support us.
"The lads are trying their guts out in training and on the pitch every week and deserve to get some support."
The coach is hoping today's game against Hunslet Hawks (6.30pm kick-off) could be one of those wins, after declaring the opposition are beatable.
"They're blowing hot and cold at the moment, but I think it's possible to beat them," he said. "We'll have Tabua back in the side so we should have some good go-forward, and Neil Thorman is playing brilliantly so we should have a good chance."
Woods is also hoping to recruit two new players to bolster the squad with front-rower Mark Meredith and hooker Dan Smith waiting on paperwork.
"Mark has played in the NRL and came through the Parramatta system, so he's got some good experience which should help our side. We have a young squad who haven't played at this level before and sometimes they need that old head to help them out a bit."
Gateshead Thunder: Thorman, Peers, Stephenson, McKinley, Harris, Christenson, Martin, Frazer, Hyde, Cakacaka, Wooden, Nash, Williamson, Clarkev, Barron, Parker, Doherty, Rutherford, Bradley.