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Tony Handforth: Methley coach to return after illness

Methley Royals have been given a major boost ahead of the 2009/10 season with the news that head coach Tony Handforth expects to be back to full health for the club's third campaign.

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The Royals have been without Handforth's services since the beginning of November, when the former Wakefield Trinity boss suffered a stroke on the eve of the funeral of Margaret Banham, the landlady at Methley's Royal Oak headquarters.

In the circumstances assistant coach Terry Crosthwaite, together with Ernie Skerrett, worked a minor miracle in guiding the Royals to the CMS Yorkshire League's Unison Division Two semi-finals, while former Castleford and Gateshead coach David Woods offered invaluable guidance at the turn of the year.

Handforth plans to take pre-season training but in the meantime Methley will commence preparations this week for the Castleford & Featherstone ARL's Edgar Hanson Workshops Cup.

Paul Farrar will again be in charge of the side while Ian Palfreyman, joint coach with Farrar of last year's team, is also expected to be involved.

The Royals, in addition, will be entering a team in the Kippax Sevens at the end of June. Players wishing to take part will train alongside the Workshops squad for the time being.

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