Craig Lingard explains Castleford Tigers’ recruitment difficulty amidst admission over player and agent ‘apprehension’

CRAIG LINGARD has explained that the current transfer market is “difficult” at the present with players and agents also somewhat ‘apprehensive’ ahead of the IMG gradings that will be given out at the end of the year.

The Castleford Tigers head coach has been actively searching for new blood for a number of weeks following an injury crisis at The Jungle, whilst work is also being done on bringing in fresh recruits for 2025.

However, Lingard has conceded that he faces great competition for players that are out of contract with the focus consistently changing.

“We have been doing it for a number of weeks but the market is difficult. Players coming off contract this year means it’s difficult to find the sort of players you want and those that are out there, everyone wants them as well,” Lingard said.

“You are fighting that battle against other teams and that’s the struggle we are going to have. We have some capital to spend next year to fatten our squad out with top-end quality players.

“It’s all about finding the right ones and we are looking overseas as well. If you get overseas players that impacts on other positions you need to recruit in too.

“You start potentially with 10, 12 or 15 targets but if you get one of those then the focus on other positions changes elsewhere.

“It’s like a jigsaw, if you put one piece in then you might have to change your focus. It’s really difficult this time of year.

“Players on the open market as we’ve passed that deadline where players can talk to others. Those we might have pencilled in might agree a deal with other teams which throws up a conundrum.

“It is something we are focused on every minute. It’s not as simple as saying we want x, y or z because other teams are fighting as well.”

Lingard did reveal that the IMG gradings have thrown up some apprehension, but he has stressed that the club is confident of being a Super League club in 2025.

“There is always that uncertainty due to the grading. There is that bit of apprehension from players and agents thinking are we going to be in Super League.

“It is up to us to sell them about the work we are doing off the field that we have pencilled in. There is a diary in there, we know what minimum points we are going to get which gives us a good estimate of where we are going to be.

“We are pretty confident we will be in Super League next year, I don’t think that will be an issue.”

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