WARRINGTON Wolves’ current priority is to decide the future of several out-of-contract players before entering the recruitment market.

The Wire currently have seven first-team players whose deals with the club are coming to an end.

Bryson Goodwin and Ryan Atkins are among that number, with the latter stating publicly that he has not been offered fresh terms thus far while reports from Australia claim the former is keen to return to the NRL in 2020.

With that in mind, a centre is believed to be high among the recruitment priorities for Wolves, with Widnes Vikings’ Anthony Gelling widely rumoured to be a target.

England international rugby union centre Luther Burrell started training with the club yesterday, Wednesday, following his switch of codes but it is not yet clear whether he will be in the reckoning for an outside-back spot in the 13-man game.

Warrington Guardian:

Bryson Goodwin is one of the Wire players whose future is up in the air amid rumours of a desire to return to Australia. Picture by Mike Boden

“It is a very delicate process – we have to do our due diligence and make sure we are recruiting and retaining the right people for our organisation,” Wire chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick said.

“We’ve got a few players out of contract at the end of the season. We’re not sure at this stage what we’ll be doing with them.

“Once we are clear with our plan with those players, we will go into the market if need be.

“It is a difficult transfer market – better players do not tend to come into it and when they do, there is a big scramble for them and that increases their value.

“We are working with the out-of-contract players at the moment but it is a work in progress.”

With the season just having passed the halfway point, The Wire sit second in Super League – six points behind leaders St Helens but with a four-point cushion over third-place Catalans Dragons, whom they face at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday.

Fitzpatrick says he is happy with the club’s progress so far in 2019 but says head coach Steve Price has been more critical.

“I think Steve said if we were in school, he would give our season a B-plus so far,” he said.

“I’d probably put it at an A or an A-minus, with St Helens as an A-plus.

“We’re in a positive position. Obviously we’d like to be top of the tree, but Saints are in that position and rightly so.

“They have been the best team so far this season and the league standings reflect that.”

Warrington Guardian:

St Helens have a six-point lead over The Wire at the top of Super League

Wolves have also reached the Challenge Cup semi-finals, where they have been drawn to face Hull FC.

The Wire have been given an initial allocation of 5,500 tickets for the game at the University of Bolton Stadium on July 27. They went on sale to members yesterday, Wednesday, before going on general sale on Saturday.

The two sides’ last meeting on May 18 – a 19-12 Super League win for the Black and Whites – saw Hull coach Lee Radford slam Warrington’s “disrespectful” use of social media to highlight the fact his side had leaked 143 points in the previous two games between the clubs.

However, Fitzpatrick says there will be no change in tack.

“That has been our marketing strategy to date and I see no reason why we should change it,” he said.

“We don’t mean to disrespect any club or players – I’ve played the game and I respect everyone who crosses that whitewash. It takes a brave soul to go out onto a rugby league field.

“We want to get more people interested in our game with our marketing and that’s what we will continue to do.

“I’d say it’s the tie of the round. We obviously put a lot of points on them over two games before they came and did a job on us a few weeks back.

“Hull will travel really well so we need all the support we can get on the day.

“They’ve had a lot of success against us in the Challenge Cup in recent years with the final in 2016 and the semi in 2013 at Huddersfield.

“All I can remember from that game is Chris Bridge putting a cross-field kick in, Tom Lineham snapped it up and went 70 metres.

“They raise their game for this competition and we will have to be at our best to get through.”

Warrington Guardian:

The Wire were roared on by around 7,500 fans at last year's Challenge Cup semi-final in Bolton. Picture by Mike Boden