Paul Rowley warns of Salford Red Devils’ ‘tough situation’ preparing for new season

COACH Paul Rowley has warned that it would be no surprise if Salford Red Devils start the campaign undercooked.

Pre-season for many top-flight clubs is being disrupted by the staggered arrival of players who were involved in the World Cup at the end of last year.

Salford had ten of their 2022 squad taking part, with eight of those in their plans for 2023.

And five of that number were involved in the latter stages of the competition, as Kallum Watkins, Andy Ackers and Marc Sneyd represented semi-finalists England while Tim Lafai and Ken Sio were with beaten finalists Samoa.

To make matters worse, Watkins, along with Scotland’s Ryan Brierley, who has now returned to training, picked up injuries.

Rhys Williams (Wales) and King Vuniyayawa (Fiji) are the other two making a delayed return, and although the likes of Sneyd and Ackers are back in training, it has put Salford’s already small squad under particular strain.

It means limited preparation time before the season begins with a trip to promoted Leigh on Friday, February 17, never mind for the first pre-season game on Sunday, January 29 (1pm) at home to Swinton.

“Our pre-season will be from the second week in January,” said Rowley.

“That’s a combination of budget, World Cup, and no pathway. We’re squeezed at both ends, top and bottom.

“I think only Catalans would have had more players than us (at the World Cup), but they’ve got a youth system and a pathway. 

“What I will say is that the players who were training (in December) are absolutely remarkable and brilliant; I’m really pleased with them. 

“But if we are underprepared and not as fit as we’d like at the beginning, we can only do so much. 

“It’s a tough situation and really frustrating, but I wouldn’t swap it.”