Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell admits the loss of Kirk Dixon will be a blow to club, but says there are no plans to sign a replacement for the retired winger.
The Tigers’ longest serving player ended his nine-year association with the club last week when he hung up his boots following a neck injury, but Powell believes he has enough strength within his squad to cope with Dixon’s absence.
He told the Express: “I think we’re okay within the squad to cover for the loss of Kirk.
“There’s a couple of players who need to step up. Michael Channing, in his second full season with the club, can step up and Ashley Gibson, who can also play in the outside back positions.
“Ashley is training really hard at the moment and he’ll be looking to play regularly.
“Denny Solomona can play on the wing and centre and we’ve got James Clare and obviously Justin Carney so there’s some competition for the outside back positions.
“We’ve got a strong squad from an outside backs perspective.
“You never know as you roll through the season whether you will add any players. As you saw last year we picked a couple of players up in Lee Jewitt and Garreth Carvell so we’ll keep our eye on things, but at the moment I think we’ve got what we need.”
Powell paid tribute to the departing Dixon, who he praised as one of the best professionals he has ever coached.
He said: “I’m really disappointed to lose Kirk Dixon.
“He’s been a fantastic servant to the club. A great character, a great professional and one of the best professionals I’ve seen.
“He worked so hard on his game and was a leader within the group.
“His work rate and attention to detail in his practice has been absolutely superb during my time at the club.
“I know everyone connected with the playing and coaching staff will be hugely disappointed with Kirk leaving the club. However, everyone’s time as a player has to end and Kirk is leaving with everyone’s best wishes and moving on to the next chapter in his life. I wish him the very best in his new challenge and thank him for everything he has done for the Tigers.”