Link maker

York City Knights coach James Ford responds to Tonga’s Ata Hingano link

Leigh Centurions halfback Ata Hingano dives for a try against the Halifax Panthers. Photo: Paul Currie/SWpix.com

JAMES FORD has responded to a report linking Tongan international Ata Hingano with a move to York City Knights next year.

Hingano is currently at Betfred Championship leaders Leigh Centurions, with the half-back having made 18 appearances, scoring four tries, so far this season for the promotion favourites.

The former New Zealand Warriors, Canberra Raiders and Salford Red Devils playmaker is, according to a report from Examiner Live on Wednesday, close to agreeing a 2023 deal with York.

Asked about Hingano’s story, Knights head coach Ford replied, “I haven’t seen it, I’m sure of the article you’re referring to.

“We have quality half-backs at this club and right now I am focusing on those and helping them play at their best.

“I’ve seen them have outstanding games for us this season and I’ve seen them produce outstanding action and form this season.

“And the minute we see glimpses of that. So right now I’m focusing on them and giving them what they need to be the best versions of themselves.

“As far as Ata is concerned, he is a very good player and we are always looking to strengthen our team and our team.

“But as far as I know he’s a Leigh player and I probably shouldn’t really talk about him.”

Ford added: “The guesswork about which players are coming or going doesn’t help and it’s hard to deal with. But that’s the job.

In terms of immediate recruitment, tomorrow marks the deadline for Championship clubs to sign new players for the remainder of the season.

“I’ve had a few text messages already from officers asking if we’re looking to do something,” Ford revealed.

“I’m going to talk to Clint (Goodchild, chairman) but I don’t think we’re going to change our strategy because I don’t think we need to.

“For example, I wouldn’t want to bring in a winger and not give (the teenagers) AJ (Towse) and Brad Ward a bit more playing time because that won’t help us for 2023 or 2024.”