GARY Broadbent is happy to back on his old Recre stamping ground as he bids to help Whitehaven secure Championship safety.

The 39-year-old Walneyite ended an 18-month absence from professional club rugby when he stepped in as coach James Coyle’s new assistant last week.

Broadbent has signed on with the team he played for for six seasons until the end of the campaign, with the main goal of ensuring the side avoid the bottom two relegation places come September.

The former Walney Central coach – who led the Cumbria open-age amateur team last season alongside Les Ashe after stepping down as Cents boss at the end of the 2014 season – believes there is enough talent in the squad to ensure that will happen and is glad to be back in the professional game.

“James had spoken to me last year about it,” said Broadbent, who played alongside Coyle at Barrow Raiders in the 2009 Championship Grand Final-winning team. “I wasn’t that bothered then, but he just lost his assistant (Peter Williams) due to work commitments and James touched base with me again three weeks ago.

“I thought about it for a while and thought ‘yeah, I’ll give it a go until the end of the season’. It’s a new chapter and we will see how things pan out.

“I’m just there purely to assist James and help him in any way that I can. Hopefully, between us and the other members of staff, we can get the best out of players in training and try and improve our performances on the pitch. Hopefully we can get some wins on the board and start climbing that table.”

He added: “I’ve said I really enjoyed my time up there and it was a brilliant place to play. The club looked after me brilliantly and we had some good years back then.

“It’s good to be back there. I’ve got some fond memories.”

Broadbent’s first match as part of the Haven coaching set-up was Sunday’s 16-12 home defeat to London Broncos.

The result leaves the side sitting second-bottom in the Championship – above only west Cumbrian rivals Workington Town – though with a long way to go in the season.

In his short time back at Haven, Broadbent feels he has already seen enough to suggest the side can push up the standings, and he added: “I think I’ve seen enough to say, yes, there is something there with this team.

“There are a couple of players I know from my time there (between 2003 and 2008), but otherwise it’s a whole new set of players for me to get to know. I enjoy that fact that your mind isn’t already made up on players.

“I’m coming in with a completely fresh mind-set and trying to hit the ground running. As much for them as for me, I’ve got to quickly learn the structures, the patterns of play James has put in place and then we go from there.

“To me, it’s black and white. It’s simple – we want wins on the board and we want to try and get the best out of players.”