‘I’ve already told Cas who to sign’ – Lingard targets Championship talent

George Riley
Craig Lingard Batley Bulldogs SWpix

Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix

Craig Lingard has already handed Castleford a hitlist of players to sign from the Championship, and believes top clubs will increasingly turn to the lower tiers in the transfer market.

The new Tigers assistant coach believes the introduction of IMG’s grading season will see clubs re-allocate their budgets in to different areas, and may have to be more shrewd in finding top talent from the Championship rather than big name and big money signings.

“I’ve already given Castleford a list of players to sign from the Championship,” said Lingard.

”Financially Super League clubs will have to make cuts to adhere to the IMG proposals so that will mean moving finances elsewhere to make them a more desirable option and get a better grading.

“That would mean value for money players outside of Super League from a part-time environment.

“I have told Cas which players are ready to step up from the Championship, there is plenty of talent who could make that jump. Look at the last England squad, many of those players have come from the Championship.”

Time is right to bid farewell to Batley, says Craig Lingard

Lingard will combine his new role with being head coach at Batley, before leaving the Bulldogs at the end of the season.

So has IMG’s arrival into the sport influenced his own position to leave the Championship, where clubs like Batley are at risk of being cut adrift in the new “re-imagining” of rugby league that will end traditional promotion and relegation into the top tier?

“I know where you are coming from with that question,” he says.

“Batley aren’t dumb, they are not stupid and they know they are not Super League-ready and won’t be for a number of years. I don’t look at the IMG proposals from my own career point of view though.

“I just think that with the financial constraints in the Championship now it is the right time for someone else to come in and have a go at it.”

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