'Hopefully we can get things resolved in next week': Danny Ward provides latest on Castleford Tigers future
The 43-year-old was given six games to keep Castleford in Super League and achieved his objective with one round to spare after guiding the Tigers to precious wins against relegation rivals Wakefield Trinity and then Hull FC.
Ward will take charge of his final match as temporary boss at Leeds Rhinos tomorrow night, after which he hopes to resolve his future.
"I came in for six games and that's not finished yet," he said.
"There have been chats between myself and the club. We've been communicating regularly and have had a couple of chats now that is secure.
"That's all it is at the moment. Hopefully we can get things resolved in the next week one way or another once this game is out of the way.
"I've made no secret that I'm enjoying my time here and want to be here. I'd put in for the job previously and have enjoyed every minute of coaching Cas.
"I'd be keen to extend that and the club have been positive in what they're saying, so it's just trying to have some conversations around how it works and where they see the club heading. With talks about squads and plans for the future, there's a lot more to it than a simple 'yes or no', 'sign this, sign that'.
"We'll hopefully continue those conversations."
Castleford needed help from Leigh Leopards to secure their Super League status after slumping to a 48-6 defeat at leaders Wigan Warriors.
As the game at Leigh Sports Village entered golden point, the Tigers faced the prospect of their fate being decided in the final round.
However, Gareth O'Brien knocked over a drop goal to hand Leigh the spoils and keep his old club in Super League at Wakefield's expense.
"It was an emotion I hadn't experienced before," said Ward.
"It was very strange coming off the back of a poor performance. I was raging as a head coach, as we all do.
"We had all that going on in the background with lads trying to listen to the end of the game.
"It was such a long time to wait. We had to address our match first, put that to bed and then I took myself out of the changing rooms and paced up and down the corridor waiting for that result before heading to the media.
"It was a very mixed bag of emotions. I don't see it as a huge achievement personally but we've done the job that I came in to do, which was to stay in Super League."
The Tigers are in the process of rebuilding their squad as they prepare to end the season in 11th place, their lowest finish since 2013.
Ward has seen enough during his short time at Wheldon Road to leave him optimistic that he could improve the club's fortunes.
"I've always viewed Cas as a big club," he said.
"The potential is there to turn things around and start progressing as a team and club.
"It's definitely something I think I could play a big part in."
Castleford will bid farewell to a whole host of players at Headingley, including Greg Eden, Jordan Turner and Nathan Massey.
Ward does not expect motivation to be a problem for his side.
"We need to perform for ourselves and the lads who are leaving," he said.
"Credit to Wigan because they're a very good side but we performed very poorly and came away disappointed.
"We need to have personal pride in our performance and want to end the season on a high. We owe that to each other and the fans.
"It's a good place to go and it’s a local derby. Cas-Leeds games are always special. If you can't get up for this one and finish with a performance, we're in the wrong game."
The Tigers take on a Rhinos outfit fresh from humiliating defeats to Wigan and Catalans Dragons that saw Rohan Smith's men concede 111 points without reply.
Last year's Grand Finalists can only finish as high as eighth but Smith is convinced brighter days lie ahead.
“We are having a tough time with some performances on the field,” he said.
“We have had a lot of development of younger players, middle of the road players and some of our more senior players have really developed this season.
“I wouldn’t say it’s all doom and gloom. It is a tough couple of weeks, no doubt, but we are looking forward to Friday.
“We are excited about the group we have and with the addition of the ones we’ve already got – and a few more – we are excited about what the future holds.”
The club’s supporters have aired their frustrations in recent weeks but Smith has asked them to stay loyal to the club.
“I think if you’re a fan, you’re a fan,” he said. “That doesn’t change based on the performance – you stick with your team."