LEIGH Centurions have emerged as the favourites to sign former Salford forward Gareth Hock.
The 31-year-old was released from his contract by mutual agreement on Monday night after a turbulent 14 months with the Red Devils and has been linked with moves to Leigh and two Super League clubs.
But it is the Kingstone Press Championship Champions who now seem set to land the player who started his professional career with Wigan Warriors.
Hock will not be able to play in any case until Easter after being handed a six-match ban by the Rugby Football League after being found guilty of two separate offences of kneeing opponents in the match against St Helens.
He spent 2013 on loan to Widnes after falling out with his hometown club Wigan, missed the end of last season after being banned for seven games for deliberately making contact with a referee and submitted a transfer request in September before later withdrawing it.
Hock served a two-year ban from 2009-10 for cocaine use and was thrown out of the England squad on the eve of the 2013 World Cup for a breach of discipline but he remains one of the most powerful forwards in Super League.
Earlier this week, Leigh coach Paul Rowley said: “We would love to have Gareth Hock at the club, he’s a wonderful player. Gareth has been linked with the club, as has a number of high-profile players, there is nothing more to say.”