Batley close in on former Widnes halfback

Batley Bulldogs are closing in on the signing of halfback Tom Gilmore.

League Express understands the former Widnes playmaker is set to join the Championship club this week.

Chairman Kevin Nicholas confirmed in a club statement over the weekend that they expected to have a deal completed for an ‘experienced halfback’ by Wednesday at the latest.

That player is understood to be Gilmore, who has been left without a club following the deferral of Ottawa Aces.

Gilmore had signed for the Canadian club for next season following a year at Halifax but their withdrawal left him on the lookout for a club.

Batley, who have worked tirelessly in their quest for a halfback for months, swooped to finally get hold of their man.

Head coach Craig Lingard has overseen an ambitious recruitment drive that has seen them narrowly miss out on several high-profile players.

But with Gilmore heading to Mount Pleasant to play alongside the likes of winger Jodie Broughton, the Bulldogs will be confident of a strong 2021 campaign.

Gilmore ended the season with Salford after being signed on a short-term loan deal. He made two appearances for the Red Devils, scoring one try.

He had previously played 58 times for the Vikings.

“We’ve agreed terms with a new experienced and established halfback to help the halfbacks we already have at the club,” Nicholas said.

“He was going to come over an sign on Friday but we hope to announce that signing early next week when he comes over by Wednesday at the latest. We’re confident that it is an excellent signing.

“That leaves us with one more position to fill. We’ve made significant progress there this week so hopefully in the next week, we might get that sorted or we might not. That’s the replacement for Keegan (Hirst). It’ll be either a direct replacement or Craig will do things a bit differently and it’ll be another position.”