Edwards rejects Wolves hot seat

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The Independent Online

Warrington are set to announce their new head coach before today's home match against the Super League leaders Bradford Bulls but Shaun Edwards yesterday ruled himself out of the reckoning.

The Wolves, who plan to unveil a successor to Darryl Van de Velde just before kick-off, were thought to have turned to the Wigan and Great Britain legend after being turned down by the Widnes and Wales coach Neil Kelly. The former New Zealand coach Frank Endacott also turned down the chance to remain in Super League following his dismissal by Wigan and Edwards is the latest man to say no.

"I spoke to them, even though I didn't apply for the job, and it was very tempting but I'm not in the race," confirmed Edwards. "It was nothing to do with the rugby side of things, it was personal. I spend a lot of my life in London where I have a little boy and it would mean me not seeing him for three or four months at a time."

Leeds' Australian performance director, Steve Anderson, is the latest man to be linked with the vacancy. Others thought to be in the frame include the Wigan assistant Billy McGinty, the former Halifax player-coach Gary Mercer and Van de Velde's assistant Paul Darbyshire, who has been preparing the side for the visit of Bradford today.

Darbyshire has been forced to field an under-strength side with a makeshift half-back pairing following the loss of regular half-backs Allan Langer and Lee Briers. Langer, the club captain, retired after last Sunday's 19-18 win at Wakefield, which was Van de Velde's last match in charge, while Briers and the second rower Dean Busby were both injured in Wales' 42-33 defeat to England on Tuesday.

Darbyshire switches Jon Clarke from hooker to scrum-half, where he will partner Tawera Nikau, and brings in the utility back Gary Hulse, 20, for his debut, while the Under-21 coach Gary Chambers is poised to make his first senior appearance of the season.

The Bradford coach Brian Noble, conversely, can select from a virtually full-strength squad, with the England forward Stuart Fielden expected back after missing last week's win at Halifax with a dead leg.

The Bulls suffered a shock 42-32 defeat in the corresponding fixture last season and Noble expects the Wolves to once more battle against adversity. "It's backs-to-the-wall time for them and I am sure that part of the message in their preparation will be to go out and give it to the Bulls and show they can cope with all the adversity."

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