TIM Rumford is hoping Oxford RL can pull off a few shocks this season, but remains realistic as to what would class as a successful campaign.

The Blues kick off with a Kingstone Press League 1 Cup tie against Coventry Bears at Abingdon’s Tilsley Park on Saturday.

But it is the bread and butter of the league where head coach Rumford wishes to turn a couple of heads.

Oxford’s ambition is to top the division’s Shield competition, which is contested by the bottom eight teams during July to September.

And head coach Rumford believes his young side are also capable of claiming a few scalps during the regular season.

He said: “We’re not pretending to be something we’re not – an all singing and dancing finished article.

“We’re going to have a real good go at the big boys.

“We don’t mind being the minnows, but hopefully one day the light at the end of the tunnel will be people seeing Oxford as a club that will surprise a few.”

Rumford added: “We want to finish top of the south-based teams, the expansion sides as we’re known.

“We’re aiming to be the best of the rest. There is a shield on offer, the league splits and we’re going to look at having a good bash at that.

“If we can take a few scalps and turn a few heads through the season I hope we can be in a nice situation of adjusting our targets in an upwards direction.”

The division has a new team this year, with Canadian side Toronto Wolfpack bringing an international flavour.

Oxford will be the first side to travel to North America on May 6, with their hosts paying for the travel expenses.

While Rumford is excited to be a part of an attempt to grow the sport, he is also optimistic of its expansion in Oxfordshire.

He said: “I think there is a positive vibe around the place, the facility at Tilsley Park we have is second to none.

“It’s not a traditional ground, but it’s a 4G pitch – we’re never going to get a game called off – and is a community venue.

“I feel it’s almost like the blue touch paper is there ready to light and we’re probably a couple of committed sponsors away from bringing something special to rugby league in Oxford.

“We have got all the main bits of the jigsaw, we just need a couple of tricky corner bits to finish the job off.”