Salford Red Devils Chairman Paul King recognises that his head-coach Ian Watson has admirers at several other Super League clubs.
And with vacancies at Huddersfield Giants and Hull FC, as well as some uncertainty about whether Adrian Lam will stay at Wigan in 2021, there are plenty of clubs circling that would appear to have a bigger budget to offer Watson than Salford are able to.
Watson initially joined Salford in 2014, moving from Swinton Lions to become the assistant coach to Iestyn Harris.
In late 2015 he was promoted to interim head-coach after Harris left the club and he was given the job on a permanent basis in 2016, working alongside the club’s then Director of Rugby Tim Sheens, before Sheens left to join Hull Kingston Rovers at the end of 2016.
His success since then, alongside his assistant coaches Greg Brown and Paul Rowley, has attracted admirers across the game and the Red Devils, who have been vulnerable to losing their leading players in recent seasons, could now face a battle to retain their coach.
The club’s Chairman recognises the danger that they could lose Watson, but is determined to avoid doing so.
“It’s not about money, it’s about ambition,” King told League Express.
“Whether it’s as a club, as a city, or as a supporter base, we have to ensure that we can match Ian’s ambition.
“He’s done a wonderful job in raising our performance levels and the profile of the city of Salford since he became our coach, but I have no doubt that he can take us much further and we will be taking every step possible to ensure that he is able to do that with our support.”
The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.