Whitehaven’s latest bid to bring in an experienced half-back has ended in disappointment.

The club expected to be talking to playmaker Tommy Lee about reactivating his career in the Championship.

Lee, now 32, announced his retirement in July after playing 222 senior games - all of them in Super League.

A friend of Haven’s veteran forward Jamie Thackrey, Lee had been invited to train with the Cumbrians and was set to talk to the directors at the Recreation Ground tonight.

But on Monday, Lee contacted the club to say that he had second thoughts about a comeback, concerned about the travelling involved from his Humberside home

Lee played almost 15 years in Super League, making his debut for Hull FC in 2005 at just 17 and finishing with city rivals Hull KR last year.

He played hooker, scrum-half or stand-off, and when he announced his retirement, said: “Physically I’ve been struggling with niggles. I feel I can’t perform each day like I would like to.

“I feel it’s the right time to call it a day. I’ve played for almost 15 years at the top level and I’m very proud of that.”

He has been playing rugby union with Hull RUFC in National Two North and has helped them to sixth in the table on their return to that level.

In a long and distinguished Super League career as well as the two Hull sides, he also played for Crusaders, Wakefield, Huddersfield, London Broncos, Salford and St Helens.

A club source said: “It’s a setback for the football committee members on the board but they’ll continue to do their best to bring in the right sort of player.

“We’ve been talking to a player in Australia but wouldn’t be able to bring him here until May.

“It’s proving very difficult because, at this time of the year, there just aren’t the players around.”

Haven are still without a win this season, slipping to their fourth defeat against Toulouse on Sunday.

Chairman Tommy Todd praised the ground staff who have worked hard to get the pitch playable.

“It was called off last Sunday for the Challenge Cup and, since then, there’s been a lot of time and effort put in by our very experienced group who work on the ground. We didn’t even need a pitch inspection and the effort was worth it as the game went ahead and the playing surface held up well.”

Included in the group is 91-year-old Stan Greaves, who despite his advancing years is there on a regular basis to help out.

“He must be the oldest groundsman in the country,” said Todd.

Also involved are Tommy Johnstone, Jack Seeds, Harold Robinson and Bewley Pattinson.