LEIGH’S search for a head coach goes on but Centurions’ squad for next season’s assault on the Betfred Championship is taking shape.

In the absence still of a permanent successor to John Duffy, Head of Rugby Chris Chester has added more recruits including Aaron Smith and Tom Nisbet on season long loans from Super League champions, St Helens.

Winger Nisbet played once for Centurions last season-against Catalans in Perpignan-while hooker Smith, fresh from a two-try display for England Knights against Jamaica, previously featured for Leigh in 2019.

Despite a raft of departees, popular forward Mark Ioane is believed to have agreed new terms for 2022.

Chester has returned from holiday to step-up the hunt for Duffy’s replacement.

However, two men whose names have been removed from the frame are Andrew Henderson and ex Leeds and Toronto coach Brian McDermott.

Former London Broncos boss Henderson was considered a front runner back in June when Duffy’s departure was confirmed.

Instead, after leaving his position as assistant coach at Warrington, he has accepted a role of Head of Rugby at League One, Keighley Cougars.

“I’m delighted to be joining a club that is ambitious and looking to develop such as Keighley,” said Henderson after his appointment.

McDermott’ Super League’s most successful coach, has succeeded James Webster as boss of Featherstone Rovers after the Yorkshire club’s failed bid for promotion in the Million Pound Game at Toulouse.

Macca’s return to the sport on a full-time basis, after his advisory role at Oldham, is a significant coup for Rovers, expected to be battling with Leigh in 2022 for top spot in the Championship.

Centurions, who have already taken Ed Chamberlain from Salford, are also thought to be leading the pack for teenage Swinton winger Luis Roberts who began his career with the Red Devils.

Leigh’s eventual squad for next season will bear little resemblance to the one demoted from Super League.

Utility back Craig Mullen, who kicked eight goals in last season’s 32-22 win over Salford, has joined Newcastle Thunder who have confirmed their full-time status for 2022.

Second row Ben Hellewell, an ever present in 2021, has moved to Featherstone while experienced back row Jordan Thompson will kick-off next year with York City Knights.

Also switching clubs is Leigh legend, Martyn Ridyard, following new coach, Stuart Littler, from Swinton to Oldham.

*Former Leigh hooker Bob Beswick, 36, has confirmed his retirement from the sport. A Newcastle Thunder player last season, Beswick won the Championship with Centurions in 2014 and 2015.