Richard Agar says he is keen to tie down the services of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ key players amid interest from other clubs.
Wildcats revealed they have turned down an approach from Hull KR to re-sign winger Ben Cockayne, while Kyle Wood departed for Huddersfield Giants on-loan this week ahead of a permanent switch in 2014.
Players including Dean Collis, Andy Raleigh and Chris Annakin have already extended their stays at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium this season.
And Agar is hoping more follow as Wakefield look to continue making strides forward.
“I think there is interest in some of our other players,” said the Wildcats head coach.
“I’m keen to make sure we hang on to our best players and get them tied down because it’s taken us 12 to 18 months from where we started to get to a position where we have got players that are coveted by other clubs.
“Danny Kirmond’s one at the moment that, while he’s got 18 months left to run on his contract, I’m pretty sure he’s attracting strong interest elsewhere in the game.
“It’s important for us, if we’re serious about ourselves, to make sure we tie these blokes down.”
Agar says Rovers assistant coach Chris Chester approached him about a swap deal for Cockayne over a month ago, but the request was met with “a flat no”.
He said: “They [Hull KR] offered us a player who is obviously overpaid in their camp and who is surplus to requirements which we turned down as a flat no, it wasn’t a serious offer in my opinion.
“I believe they’ve spoke at board level and again come in with some sort of offer but we didn’t judge it to be a serious one, it might be serious on their part. I think it’s great we’re attracting cash offers for our players, I think it’s fantastic.”
The Wildcats boss said the club would have to listen if the “right offer” came in for Cockayne but says the wing wizard is happy in his hometown.
“At the same time it’s a business and I don’t think there would be any player in the world that, if the right offer came in, a board wouldn’t have to listen to it,” said the ’Cats boss.
“But it’s absolutely not at that stage yet and I’m not sure if it ever will be so at the moment it’s a flat no and we can put an end to it there unless they come back and up the ante, in which case that becomes out of my hands and that’s a decision for [chairman] Andrew Glover and [chief executive] James Elston.
“He’s happy here, he’s under contract and we spoke about it [the offer],” said Agar.
“I’ve told Ben the truth and Benny’s fine. He says if the position changes let him know but he’s fine, and he’s certainly not banging the door down to go back to Hull KR.
“He’s happy, his form’s been good and he’s had a special relationship with both sets of fans which is good for him.”
Wood looks to have played his last game in the red, white and blue after moving to the John Smith’s Stadium on loan for the rest of the season and agreeing a three-year deal with Huddersfield from 2014.
Agar admits he is disappointed to see the half-back, who can also play hooker, leave, but says he understands the reasons.
“I’m disappointed to lose Woody but unfortunately that wasn’t a decision of mine, it was something that happened a little bit above my level,” he revealed.
“I understand why that’s happened. We’ve know for a while he wasn’t going to be staying and probably five or six weeks ago, when we did know Kyle was going, we felt perhaps his focus wasn’t quite where it needed to be with us and we had a chat about that. Credit to the kid he really buckled down and had a couple of really good games for us.
“I understand the reasons why it’s happened but I’m disappointed. He’s a good kid and he was part of our squad until the end of the year. I wish him well, we spoke at length yesterday and it’s an opportunity for him to play in some big games for them for the rest of the year.”