Stand-off Jamie Rooney says Whitehaven must be patient in order to establish themselves in the Championship.
Haven's return to the division after a two-year absence pits them against champions Sheffield, Featherstone and Halifax in the battle for honours.
"Success hasn't happened for those clubs over the last year, it's taken time," Rooney told BBC Look North.
"That's what we've got to do, we've got to base ourselves, cement a place and then start building."
"We've got a superb fan-base, so hopefully in two or three years we can start to compete with teams like Featherstone or Leeds."
Under former head coach Don Gailer, the Cumbrians were promoted from Championship One last season along with rivals Barrow and Workington - bringing the derbies back to the Championship for 2013.
"It's massive to have all three in the Championship, you only have to come to the derby games to see the big crowds and how they get up for the game,"
"The game will bring an excitement to the Championship."
Meanwhile Whitehaven have signed Lezignan prop Seb Martins for the 2013 season.
The 27-year-old made 21 appearances in Super League for Catalans, and also had spells with Leigh and Hull KR.