Whitehaven are closing in on a surprise deal to bring former coach Carl Forster back to the Recreation Ground - as a player.

Forster left the club at the end of last season to take up a position with Championship side Rochdale Hornets.

But after just one win in eight games, the Spotland club parted company with the former St Helens prop forward earlier this month.

A Hornets club statement read: “Rochdale Hornets can confirm they have mutually agreed to part ways with Carl Forster with immediate effect.

“The club wish to place on record its thanks to Carl and his team for their hard work during their time with Rochdale Hornets.”

Forster had spent time on loan with Haven from Saints early in his career and established an affinity for the club.

He signed for Haven in 2016 and was player-coach the following season when Whitehaven reached the play-off final, only to lose to Barrow.

Last year, amidst financial problems and a signing ban, they just missed out on the play-offs.

Whitehaven then decided to go down a different path and Forster left, signing up as Rochdale player-coach.

Forster, who will be 27 next month, is still regarded as a top player and during his last spell with Whitehaven, he scored 26 tries in 34 games.

Both Workington Town and Hunslet were among a number of League One clubs who have expressed an interest in taking Forster as a player, as well as a Championship club.

But it’s his closeness and affinity with Haven which are expected to win the day.

Coach Gary Charlton is said to have no problems with the previous coach returning to the club, and supporters have always appreciated Forster’s capabilities on the field.

If a deal can be sorted out, Forster could be back at training this week and available for selection for the trip to Wales.

Forster, a 6ft 1ins, 17 and a half stone prop, joined his hometown club of St Helens in 2011 and spent four years with the Super League club, making five senior starts.

But he picked up playing experience out on loan at Swinton, Rochdale, Whitehaven and London Broncos.

Forster also had two years with Salford, playing in 16 Super League games.