JAMES FORD has responded to a report linking Tongan international Ata Hingano with a move to York City Knights next year.

Hingano is currently at Betfred Championship leaders Leigh Centurions, with the half-back having made 18 appearances, scoring four tries, so far this season for the promotion favourites.

The former New Zealand Warriors, Canberra Raiders and Salford Red Devils playmaker is, according to an Examiner Live report published on Wednesday, close to completing a deal with York for 2023 however.

When asked about the Hingano story, Knights head coach Ford replied: “I’ve not seen it, I’m sure about the article that you’re referring to.

“We’ve got some quality half-backs at this club and right now I’m focusing on those and helping them play to their best levels.

“I’ve seen them have some outstanding games for us this season and I’ve seen them produce some outstanding actions and form this season.

“And at the minute, we’re seeing glimpses of that. So at the moment, I’m focusing on them and getting them what they need to be the best versions of themselves.

“In regards to Ata, he’s a very good player and we’re always looking to strengthen our team and squad.

“But as far as I am aware, he’s a Leigh player and I probably shouldn’t really be talking about him.”

Ford added: “The conjecture about players coming or going doesn’t help and it’s hard to manage. But that’s the job.”

In terms of immediate recruitment, tomorrow marks the deadline for Championship clubs to bring in new players for the rest of the season.

“I’ve already had a few text messages from agents asking if we’re looking to do anything,” revealed Ford.

“I’ll have a chat with Clint (Goodchild, chairman) but I just don’t think that we’ll change our strategy because I don’t think we need to.

“For example, I wouldn’t want to bring in a winger and not give (teenagers) AJ (Towse) and Brad Ward some more game time, because that’s not going to help us for 2023 or 2024.”