Lee Radford makes vow to Castleford Tigers fans as he responds to Jake Trueman talk

Lee Radford has issued a coy response over Jake Trueman's future but pledged to find an adequate replacement should the half-back leave Castleford Tigers.

The 23-year-old is in the final few months of the four-year deal he signed at the end of 2018.

Hull FC are reportedly on the verge of taking Trueman to the MKM Stadium but Radford remained tight-lipped during his weekly press conference on Wednesday.

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"That's probably for everyone else to announce," said the Castleford head coach.

Jake Trueman has been heavily linked with a move to Hull FC. (Picture: SWPix.com)

"For me, he's here now and I've got to get the best out of him while he's here.

"Beyond this year, if he's here then fantastic and if he's not, I'll get a real good replacement.

"Ultimately, we're worried about where we are at the moment and getting Jake playing better than he did last week (against Catalans). That's where my focus is right now."

Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos have also been credited with an interest in Trueman as his contract ticks down.

Jake Trueman and his Castleford team-mates fell flat in Perpignan last time out. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Radford has not been surprised by the demand for his chief playmaker's signature.

"It's a difficult one," he said.

"If you look at the market and see the half-backs that are actually available next year, you can see why everybody is getting touted everywhere.

"You don't have to be Einstein to work out that blokes are going to be touted about when they're available because there are not too many pottering about."

Greg Eden is on Castleford's list of off-contract players. (Picture: SWPix.com)

It is a busy time for coaches throughout Super League and Radford is no different as he reshapes his squad for 2023.

Radford has previously declared his intention to bring down the average age of his squad with an injection of youth.

He must also make decisions on his other off-contract players, a lengthy list that features the likes of Greg Eden, Derrell Olpherts and Mahe Fonua.

Radford plans to have his 2023 squad in place sooner rather than later.

"It's getting a little bit busier and a little bit faster," he said.

"There are two ways of going about your recruitment: you get it done early, know what you've got and run the risk of a bargain popping up at the end of the year; or you hold out and wait to see what crops up - and nothing does.

"I've notoriously always got my work done early in terms of recruitment and retainment, just for the purposes of planning."

Radford wasted no time in putting his stamp on the squad ahead of his first campaign in charge, bringing in eight new players during the off-season.

He is not planning major surgery looking ahead to 2023 with "five or six changes" likely.

Radford said: "I think so. It won't be far off, give or take."