Alan Hunte short on time as Salford cast net wider


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The Independent Online

Alan Hunte's stint as Salford's interim coach – to borrow the term made infamous by Rafa Benitez recently – could start and finish with Sunday's match at Wakefield.

The former St Helens and Great Britain centre was put in temporary charge this week, following the sacking of Phil Veivers in the wake of the 38-4 humiliation at the hands of the London Broncos. He has been described as a contender for the job, but it is far more likely that the City Reds will make an appointment from outside.

The former Wigan player Tony Iro has been mentioned, as has the current Australian coach, Tim Sheens, but he is unlikely to be available until after the World Cup. That leaves the former Bradford, Wigan and Great Britain coach Brian Noble, who has turned down several opportunities to get back into the game since leaving Crusaders at the end of the 2011 season. But the new Salford owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, wants to talk to him and things could progress this weekend.

On the other hand, Koukash does not want to rush into a decision. "Appointing a new coach is a very important decision," he said. "We have to get it right."

In the shorter term, he will be looking for a dramatic improvement at Wakefield, where the Australian signings Liam Foran and Vic Mauro should be better for a full week's training with their new team-mates. This might not be the ideal time to be playing Wakefield, because they have accumulated frustrations from their last two games to unload.

One man Salford have been alerted to watch carefully is the winger Ben Cockayne, who this week became the only addition to England's Elite Training Squad, preparing for the season's international commitments. The England coach, Steve McNamara, said that the ex-Hull KR and Featherstone man had been rewarded for sustained good form.

Two teams with morale-boosting victories last week meet today, when London Broncos, fresh from their first win of the season, host Hull KR, who inflicted a shock defeat on Warrington.

The Cronulla coach, Shane Flanagan, has resigned after 14 of his players were found to have taken a banned substance.