Tigers in pursuit of Sykes and Cardiss

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The Independent Online

Castleford are hoping to sign two full-backs after moving for Bradford's Paul Sykes and Halifax's Daryl Cardiss.

The Tigers' coach, Graham Steadman, a former Great Britain full-back, has opened negotiations for both players. "I'll be very disappointed if we don't get one of them," he said. "Ideally, we'd like to sign both.

"I'm looking for players with versatility, pace and finishing ability and both fall into that category." Cas face competition for Sykes from the London Broncos, with whom he spent a successful period on loan last season. "The ball is in Paul's court now," Steadman said.

Bradford are willing to part with Sykes, whilst Cardiss was placed on the transfer list after requesting a move from Halifax. Castleford are keen on both because they only have one specialist full-back, the 33-year-old Richard Gay, who is planning to retire from Super League at the end of the season.

"He isn't getting any younger; he would be the first to admit that," said Steadman. "We need to get some more strike power into the team. We made the chances to win the match at Halifax on Sunday and couldn't take them and that has been our problem this season."

Steadman hopes to have Gay back after a leg injury for Sunday's game against Warrington, even if he has not made a signing by then. He still has problems in the back row of the pack, where Lee Harland and Dale Fritz have long-term injuries and hopes to bring in a new man in that department too. Cas have someone in mind, but it is not Wigan's Simon Haughton, who they regard as being out of their price range.

The Leeds prop, Darren Fleary, has had surgery on his knee for the second time and will be out of the reckoning for several weeks. Another forward, Matt Adamson, is a doubtful starter in Saturday's match at Wigan after twisting an ankle in training.

Warrington are retaining the registration of their young hooker, Mark Gleeson, although he plans to travel around Australia and play some rugby at amateur level.

Gleeson spent part of his childhood in Australia. "We are hoping that Mark will eventually return to the UK and take up playing with the Wolves again," the Warrington coach, David Plange, said.