England star Luke Gale expected to remain at Castleford Tigers next year - despite Leeds Rhinos rumours
Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell sees "no reason" why half-back Luke Gale won't still be at the club next year.
Gale, Man of Steel in 2017, has not played this term due to an Achilles injury.
He has been linked with Leeds Rhinos, his hometown club and where he began his career as an academy player, but has two seasons remaining on his existing Castleford deal.
Asked at a press conference on Monday, to preview Thursday's visit of Hull, if he is confident Gale will be at Tigers next year, Powell said: “He is contracted so I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t at this time.
“I've seen many strange things happen in rugby league, but he is a contracted player and I expect him to be here next year.”
Rumours suggest Tigers could consider a deal with near-neighbours and fierce rivals Leeds if they managed to sign half-back Danny Richardson from St Helens, but Powell said he is not sure where the speculation has come from.
“People are going to throw different things around," he said.
"Obviously he’s not playing, Leeds are a team that’s looking for a half-back - that’s the way it is, people like rumours.
“Especially coming to the end of the year things get spoken about and once they are out there people keep batting them around like a game of tennis, but he is not even playing for us this year.
“We are just cracking on with what we are doing and we’ll focus on the future when it comes around.
“At the moment it’s just important we focus on the boys who are on the field and they have a job to do.”
Meanwhile, Tigers centre Kieran Gill has signed a one-year contract with Betfred League One club Newcastle Thunder, where he has been playing on loan this season.
Gill, 23, was out of contract this autumn and is Newcastle's leading scorer with 20 tries so far.
Powell said: "Kieran has been with us for a number of years now and he's grown into being a first-team player and he's played in Super League.
"He had an unfortunate injury with his knee, but I think this is a great opportunity to progress his career.
"He has been up at Newcastle for this season and done a great job for them and we would like to wish him all the best for his future career."