Ian Watson on Salford’s recruitment challenges

Salford head coach Ian Watson admits he would love to keep together his current squad, but knows it will be difficult.

The likes of Jackson Hastings, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan and Rob Lui are all off-contract and free to speak to other clubs, with Lui already strongly linked with a move to Hull Kingston Rovers.

Over the years, Watson has formed a number of strong squads, only to have them dismantled as key players have moved on.

The likes of Gareth O’Brien and Ben Murdoch-Masila have been sold in the last 18 months while others, such as Craig Kopczak, Josh Griffin and Tommy Lee have also left the club for pastures new.

Having assembled another competitive side, Watson is desperate to ensure the same doesn’t happen again, although he admitted it would be challenging to ensure that is the case.

“If we could keep this squad together and add a few players towards it we could have a very strong squad in a few years,” he said.

“It takes time to build stuff, but when you’re a club like ours you don’t always know the finances. We need a good grasp of that because you can’t spend more than you have really. It’s a difficult situation but in an ideal situation, you’d have everyone getting behind the club so you can spend close to the cap. More or less every club spends up to cap other than us.

“We have to rebuild every couple of years really because we can’t make a move on players at the right time. What we want to do is cherrypick people now we think will fit into our environment because if you wait too long they’re gone.

“We’d love to (keep players), but it’s very difficult to keep hold of that calibre of player when other clubs are interested.”