Salford head coach Paul Rowley confirms more injury blows to forward pack

Josh McAllister
Paul Rowley, Salford Red Devils. News Images

Paul Rowley head coach of Salford Red Devils during the Super League media launch at Science and Industry Museum, Manchester. Photo by Mark Cosgrove/News Images

Salford boss Paul Rowley has confirmed yet another injury blow to his side ahead of their Thursday night fixture with Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

This time the injury comes to forward Alex Gerrard.

The 31-year-old featured from the bench during the side’s 24-10 defeat to Hull KR at the AJ Bell Stadium last Thursday. However, the forward was limited to minimal minutes on the field, with Rowley confirming he went into the clash not quite 100%.

“I’ve got 21 fit players,” Rowley said during his weekly press conference. “Nobody else is within a week or two now. 

“Alex Gerrard is out now for probably six to eight weeks. He was on the bench and wasn’t really fit anyway. But we wanted a middle on the bench and he was our last middle. We’re struggling a bit on the injury front. 

“But again, 21 players fit and that’s our squad.”

On Gerrard, he continued: “He’s been carrying it (the injury) for several weeks. We were hoping it would settle itself down. I made a late sub to put him on, but when the game was gone, we took him off to protect him there. But he’ll be sat down for a few weeks. 

“It’s a knee injury, it’s a bit of bone bruising on his knee.”

Paul Rowley confirms head knock blow

Meanwhile, James Greenwood suffered a head knock while featuring for Barrow on loan in the Championship. He was a part of the side that fell to a 28-14 defeat to York at the LNER Community Stadium on Sunday, while Salford team-mate Amir Bourouh also featured at hooker.

The pair linked up with Paul Crarey’s side earlier last week on short-term deals.

“Greeny (Greenwood) got knocked out, so he’s out for 12 days now,” Rowley confirmed. “Amir went alright. They just needed to play, everyone needs to play. When you’ve got small numbers it’s a risk and in a way you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

“Match fitness is important for everybody and ultimately everyone is here and wanting to play. If we run the risk of wrapping everyone in cotton wool, they’ll be able to pull a shirt on. But they won’t be conditioned to really provide much of an impact for us. And we’ll be judging them on a performance when they’re undercooked.

“I think it’s important that everybody plays rugby whilst protecting ourselves and making sure we can turn a team out at the weekend.

“They both enjoyed it up until Greeny got his injury, and Amir got a try. It’s good for him.”

Joe Burgess return

On the flip side, winger Joe Burgess returned to action last Thursday at home after missing the opening weekend win over Leigh.

Burgess, 28, replaced Rhys Williams in the starting line-up and was named alongside Tim Lafai.

“He looked threatening,” Rowley said on Burgess’ return. “Obviously he’s quick and provides us with some strike. Like most of the players, we’ve had a really disruptive pre-season, so I thought Joe fell into a bit of a hole energy wise.

“But again, there’s some valid reasons why that was. He’s missed large chunks with injury and he’s not got the mileage under his belt. Time will fix that up for him.”

The Red Devils look to bounce back from their home defeat to Willie Peters’ side with a trip to Warrington this Thursday, live on Sky Sports.

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