job to stay open: STEELE

HALIFAX chairman Michael Steele has confirmed the club do not expect to appoint a new coach to replace Matt Calland before the end of the season.

Calland left the club a fortnight ago “by mutual consent” in circumstances that are still unexplained, with his former assistant Damian Ball taking caretaker charge alongside player-coach David Larder and conditioner Andy Proctor for the subsequent wins over York and Toulouse.

Ball observed after the 44-28 success over the French side on Saturday night that he believed continued uncertainty over the identity of Calland’s successor - and the consequent lack of player contract negotiations for next season - had the potential to derail the club’s Co-operative Championship champions’ play off charge.

That prompted Steele to address the squad at Tuesday night’s training session - which was also attended by Fax’s football consultant, and former Great Britain coach Brian Noble - to try and calm nerves, although he conceded there was no prospect of significant movement until after the end of the season.

“The board are working very hard in the background to secure a suitable coach for next season,” said Steele, who said a “significant number” of applications had been received, although the rumour mill continues to link the Batley coach Karl Harrison - who hosts his former club at Mount Pleasant on Sunday - with the job.

“Realistically though, I cannot see an appointment being made until after the season is over.

“I understand players want answers, but in reality the position is not much different to the one we were in a year ago.

“Then, although we had a small number of players on two year deals, we said we were not discussing contracts for this season until after the competition

“Although we had a coach in place, that coach wasn’t telling players whether he wanted them or not, so the end result was actually the same as it is now.

“The best thing the club and players can do now is focus on winning the competition, which is something they are more than capable of doing.”

Steele has also met Rugby Football League bosses to discuss the club’s Super League rejection, with a jointly-agreed statement likely to be issued in the near future.

“Until then, there will be no comment,” said Steele.