Hunslet are on course to have a stronger squad next year, coach Gary Thornton says.

The Parksiders are top of the Kingstone Press League One Shield table after finishing a disappointing 10th in the regular season.

But Thornton is deep into planning for 2018 and confident of re-signing key members of the current squad as well as bringing in some new faces.

“George Flanagan, Jack Lee and Jimmy Watson were all on a two-year deal and Joe Sanderson has committed to the club for another year,” he said.

“It was important we keep a player like Joe and develop him. He has come through a really good system at Leeds Rhinos and he has been well-schooled.

“Recruitment is taking shape, we are speaking to a lot of players and we’ve nearly got a couple over the line.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to make some announcements over the next week or so and people will see how seriously we are going to take next year.”

Thornton admitted he wants his players to be mentally tougher next term.

He added: “We’ve been pretty competitive at times – we have played well against the top teams, but it’s against the lower teams we’ve let ourselves down.

“That’s one of the problems in this division, when you play the lower sides it’s more about how you approach the game mentally than physically.”