Salford fight off Sale advances

James Gordon

Salford continue to fight off vultures from Sale rugby union club, who continue to undermine the Reds in the local press.

There have been long standing rumours that the Sharks, who play in the Aviva Premiership, will soon move in to the new Salford City Stadium at Barton to groundshare with Salford.

And now Sale coach Steve Diamond has been quoted as saying that the Sharks will have easy access to assess all junior rugby league players in the north, after Salford asked to use Heywood Road, the home of Sale’s junior teams and the home of the first team before its move to Edgeley Park in 2003, as a venue for its youth games.

Development work at Barton remains ongoing, meaning that the exterior pitches earmarked for use by Salford’s junior teams will not be fit to play in the near future, so the Reds have been playing games at Sedgley Park and on the main pitch at the new stadium.

In a statement, Reds head of Youth Development, Alan Hunte said: “We are not sure where Steve Diamond got his information from on this one. It’s very pleasing that Steve not only rates our youngsters here at Salford City Reds but the standard of youth within the League game, but the information regarding our playing games at Heywood Road is factually incorrect.

“From a Club’s perspective, in our fantastic new ground, we were unable to play all our Youth games here in 2012 and suitable venues had to be sourced. The facilities and location at Heywood Road were perfect and an understanding was made that we would use that facility for the occasional game this season.

“We will continue to work extremely hard to develop and keep the talent, and while not impossible to stop them being poached by rival sports or other League clubs, we will continue to keep producing first team players for the Salford City Reds.”

Meanwhile, Sale are currently looking at former Warrington and Wakefield winger Kevin Penny. He has been turning out for their youth and second team in a bid to earn a contract with the Sharks. He had previously signed for Championship rugby league side Swinton Lions for the 2012 season.