Daryl Powell says he expects Luke Gale to be a Castleford player next season despite rumours linking him with a return to hometown club Leeds.
The Tigers’ head coach addressed numerous questions from the media surrounding the 31-year-old at his weekly press conference on Monday.
Gale, who will not play this season due to an Achilles injury, is reportedly on the Rhinos’ radar for next year as they target a new half-back.
However Powell responded to the rumours, saying: “I’ve seen many strange things happen in rugby league, but he is a contracted player and I expect him to be here next year.”
He added: “People are going to throw different things around. Obviously he’s not playing, Leeds are a team that’s looking for a half-back – that’s the way it is, people like rumours.
“At the moment it’s just important we focus on the boys who are on the field and they have a job to do.”
Gale was released by Leeds as a youngster but worked his way back to the top impressing at Doncaster, Harlequins and Bradford – before signing for Castleford in 2015.
His career has stuttered with injuries since winning the Man of Steel award in 2017, but it appears the Rhinos hierarchy are still keen on their former academy graduate.
Speaking to Sky Sports about the speculation last week, Gale said: “Everywhere I go, I keep getting asked. But I’m a Castleford player and I’m contracted to them for another year.
“That’s all I can say. My main focus is getting back on the field.”