New Widnes coach Kieron Purtill says he is very confident that Anthony Gelling will be in his squad in 2019.
Gelling, 28, signed a two-year deal with the Vikings in July but doubts have surfaced over the move following their relegation from Super League.
Sources at the club insist that Gelling, whose partner is currently awaiting the birth of their first child, will be coming over and that the logistics of getting him to the UK are currently being worked on.
Speaking at his first press conference as Widnes coach, Purtill said: “He’s coming. At the moment his partner is due so there’s some logistics with that. He’s due to still come, we’re just not sure what date yet.
“I think the number of players already signed up is a real positive for the club.
“Having the full-time Under 19s is a massive bonus, a lot of work has gone into those systems and the players coming through that.
“We’ve got a squad we’re putting together and we can still move within that squad and that’ll continue all year if we feel there is a position that needs filling or an area that needs strengthening, we look at that.
“The people within the squad will be given plenty of opportunities and I’ve said from the start it doesn’t matter if you’re club captain and you’ve played 300 games, or your new to the team and you’ve played three games, if you do the right thing and you apply yourself on a daily basis, turn up, work hard and everyone will be given an opportunity.”
Purtill left his hometown club and Championship rivals Leigh, whose future is still clouded by uncertainty, to take up the post at Widnes after speaking with newly appointed Performance Director, Phil Finney, who has been the driving force behind the club’s academy set up for the past decade.
Purtill added: “We talk a lot. We’ve got to build a relationship between each other. We’ve got a philosophy on the type of player we want to bring in, and ultimately it doesn’t matter how good of a player that player is, it’s got to be the right player to bring into the environment.
“We’re relying a lot on Phil at the moment with the younger players, but it’s quite exciting for me to see the potential in a lot of those players.
“Recruitment wise, we know where we’re going as a club, we know the task in front of us, but I think foremost what we’re looking at is bringing the right people in to create the right culture and give us the right identity that we need.”
So far Widnes have added just two new faces – Liam Hood and Adam Tangata – while young full-back Joe Edge has returned to the club following a spell with Warrington’s academy.
They were believed to be one of the clubs interested in Quentin Laulu-Togagae, who has now rejoined Halifax.
Purtill was tight-lipped on the identity of any players he was speaking to, though believes the majority of the Leigh squad he inherited last season have now signed elsewhere.