Watson discusses Salford’s recruitment plans

Ian Watson is looking to add more depth to his squad in 2018.

The Salford head coach has set his sights on next season after the Red Devils’ play-off hopes were ended with defeat to Leeds Rhinos on Friday.

A number of departures have already been confirmed at the end of the season. Halfbacks Michael Dobson and Todd Carney will leave the AJ Bell Stadium while forward Olsi Krasniqi will leave for Toronto Wolfpack. Adam Walne is also expected to leave to join Huddersfield.

Plans are well underway for next season, with Salford bringing Manu Vatuvei and Tyrone McCarthy to the club midway through the season, rather than wait until the new season.

However, Watson confirmed that there will be more players coming through the door, with the Red Devils chief keen to add more numbers to his roster.

“I think we need more numbers to be fair,” Watson said.

“We struggled when we lost our senior players, especially our experienced middles who really got us moving forward at the start of the year. We just need that depth to help cover us during the course of a season.

“We have some players leaving our group and they’ll need to be replaced, and then we’d like to add some more if possible.”

Near the top of Watson’s wishlist is a new halfback, although he admitted it was easier said than done.

“There’s not a lot out on the market,” Watson admitted.

“Halfbacks are like gold dust anyway, so trying to find one isn’t easy but we’re working hard and we’ve got a few things we’re considering at this stage.”

With Watson looking to add more depth, the Red Devils are focusing a large part of their efforts on British talent away from Super League. Derrell Olpherts, the Newcastle Thunder centre, has already agreed to join the club, following in the footsteps of Salford hooker Kriss Brining, who has enjoyed a fine start to life in Super League following his move from York City Knights.

However, finding players is easier said than done.

“Most British players that are proven at this level are already under contract so it’s hard to add any more to our current group.

“We want a core of British players and we want to add to what we already have.

“But it’s not easy. You can look at players outside the senior grade and only the very, very top young players can make the step up at that stage of their career. For us, we just need to keep looking into things and we’ll get where we need to be.”