CHRIS Chester is ready to interview potential candidates to become Leigh Centurions head coach.

But Kurt Haggerty, who ended last season in interim charge, isn’t in the running to take the job on a permanent basis.

Director of Rugby Chester is back from holiday and keen to put a coaching team together in readiness for Leigh’s return to the Championship.

Haggerty was in pole position to continue in the role prior to the ex Wakefield coach’s break but is now believed to be out of the running.

A possible switch to Salford Red Devils could be on the cards if former Leigh chief, Paul Rowley, is handed the chance to succeed Richard Marshall.

Rowley was appointed Salford’s head of rugby development, talent and pathways in January 2021.

Leigh are further down the line regarding player recruitment and were “very close” to confirming names as the Journal went to press.

Experienced Joe Wardle is one player believed to be interesting Centurions. The versatile 29-year-old hasn’t been offered a new deal at Huddersfield and would be a good fit for the club.

Hull FC and Bradford Bulls have also been linked with Wardle who has also played for Castleford and with Newcastle Knights in the NRL.

Despite Leigh’s relegation, Catalans’ star Joel Tomkins is still bound for the LSV next season. Tomkins confirmed before last week’s Grand Final he has no intention of reneging on a one-year deal for 2022.

But a major recruitment drive is required such has been the loss of numerous players since the end of the season.

Aussies Sam Stone and Jai Whitbread are on board until the end of 2022, but it is less clear what the future holds for compatriot, Brendan Elliot. Joe Mellor, Ben Reynolds and Adam Sidlow have all penned deals for next season.

Leigh fans can expect to cheer on their team on Monday nights next season after RL bosses confirmed a new television deal with Premier Sports.

As part of the two-year deal to broadcast the Betfred Championship, some games will be cherry picked for live Monday night coverage. Premier will also show all seven matches at Summer Bash 2022 and the Million Pound Game.

Leigh will be the only Greater Manchester club in the division next season after relegation for Oldham and Swinton.

They will face three Cumbrian trips with promoted Barrow and Workington joining Whitehaven in the 14-team competition.

The rest of the Championship comprises: Batley, Bradford, Dewsbury, Featherstone, Halifax, London, Newcastle, Sheffield, Widnes and York.