Wakefield hopeful of avoiding oblivion

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The Independent Online

Wakefield say they have four prospective new owners waiting in the wings to rescue them from their financial turmoil. The Wildcats face a winding-up order in the High Court a week tomorrow over unpaid tax, but hope that a change of ownership will enable them to settle their debts before that.

"There is no threat to us starting in Super League," said the club's chief executive, James Elston. "I've been to Red Hall this morning and they [the RFL] are fully aware of everything that's going on."

What Wakefield hope is that one of the interested parties will buy them either before or after the court hearing, although wiping out their debts by going into administration would mean them starting the season with a points deduction.

"We have kept the players informed all the way through," Elston said. "We have reassured them that everything carries on as normal, although obviously it affects them – it would be daft to say it doesn't."

The Wildcats' captain, Glenn Morrison, said: "What's happening off the field is out of our hands. I'm sure the club will still be here. It's a great traditional club and there are people wanting to come on board. If the club wasn't going to be here, you've got to play well to get yourself a new one."

The club's coach, John Kear, said it would be a relief to play the first game, against Castleford in Cardiff on 12 February. "The off-field stuff will take care of itself," he said. "We can only worry about what we can control. We've nothing to lose. We might as well roll our sleeves up and have a right go."

Kear is hoping to bring in two prop forwards on loan before the start of the season to strengthen one of the his squad's weak points. One of his close-season signings, the Kiwi utility back Motu Tony, has broken his hand in training and will miss the start.

Wakefield's attempt to raise capital with a new share issue has fallen flat and they face a battle to retain their Super League licence, with a bid based on playing at Barnsley.

Meanwhile, the Wigan players Karl Pryce and Joe Mellor are to join Harlequins on indefinite loan.