Rugby League: Goodway's hideaway for Wigan

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The Independent Online
THE NEW Wigan coach, Andy Goodway, has taken his squad away to a secret location for a bonding exercise before his first match in charge, against St Helens on Sunday.

Andy Farrell, the Wigan captain who has described John Monie's departure as "a sad day for the club", has gone with the party, raising hopes that he may be fit to return at Knowsley Road after missing the last four games with an ankle injury.

Farrell had much to do with Goodway coming to the club as Monie's assistant last year and his return as an on-field lieutenant would be a major boost for his new coach.

Bradford have their new signing, the Tongan World Cup centre Phil Howlett, on stand-by for their game at Leeds tomorrow night, but he is unlikely to play any part so soon after his arrival in the country yesterday. Leeds hope that Brad Godden will be fit to resume after a hamstring injury and Darren Fleary and Ryan Sheridan will be given as long as possible to recover from groin and ankle injuries.

David Lloyd, the majority shareholder of Super League's bottom club, Hull Sharks, and the owner of Hull City's ground at Boothferry Park, has made a pounds 500,000 offer for the Northern Ford Premiership leaders, Hull Kingston Rovers. Rovers, who have been in administration for the past two years, last week agreed to sell their Craven Park ground to a consortium for a similar amount and to lease it back for games.

A spokesman for Hull said that they had no details of the offer, but the suspicion will be that it could bring closer the day when the two Humberside clubs join forces.

Players at Keighley are consulting their union after being told that they must take a 40 per cent pay cut to keep the club afloat. Gates at the club have declined this season, sparking fears that they could be heading for another financial crisis.

Aston Villa have turned down an approach for them to fund a Super League franchise to play at Walsall's Bescot Stadium. The bid is one of five trying to gain admission to the competition for next year, but Villa say that they are not interested in being involved. The other backers behind the West Midland bid may now switch tack by trying to persuade an existing Super League club to relocate.