Tough contract talks at Salford

Salford coach Ian Watson has admitted that tough talks have been held with some of the club’s off-contract stars.

The Red Devils have been active in the recruitment front and have been linked with Morgan Escaré, Danny Addy, Harvey Livett, Matty Costello and Joe Burgess, while Ollie Roberts’ loan has been extended into next year.

Further signings are expected, but the club also has retention to attend to. Niall Evalds and Gil Dudson are departing to Castleford and Catalans respectively, but further players, such as Joey Lussick and Mark Flanagan, are off-contract.

Talks are currently on hold and Watson has admitted that club officials have had conversations with their existing players about next year and where their futures stand.

“While we don’t spend the full cap it (Covid-19) will still hurt us,” he said.

“We’ve spoken to those off-contract and said we’re not in a position to offer right now.

“We know we’ll need players to be sorted out early. We’re devastated to lose Niall, but we’ve had to plan for that now it’s happened. We’ve been doing our due diligence and having a look at the market.

“When you’re recruiting you always have positions you prioritise and at our club we have a budget, we spend to that and then see if there’s anything else we can do after that.

“There’s a lot to weigh up really, it’s about the club and where they sit. If you take some of the Sky money away, we’re not going to be hit as big as a club like Leeds, but it will still hurt us.

“We’re heavily reliant on sponsors. We’ve spoken to (Chairman) Paul King and (CEO) Ian Blease and they have been outstanding. That’s generally been the feeling around the whole game. A lot of supporters are sticking by their clubs and while it’s been a tough time for them too, everyone is playing their part.”