Salford's Stefan Ratchford is hoping to be told to carry on his recent good work by helping to knock his home-town team out of the Challenge Cup tonight. Ratchford was born and bred in Wigan and lives just five minutes from the JJB Stadium, but was passed over when many of his team-mates from junior rugby were signed by the Warriors.
Instead, he joined the City Reds – "Because I just wanted to sign pro and they were the first to ask me" – and this season has grown into the stand-off role in a rapidly improving side. With a run of three victories, Salford go into this quarter-final in more convincing form than Wigan, with Ratchford's youthful partnership with Richie Myler one of the prime reasons.
Ratchford got his chance in his specialist position because of injury to the Kiwi international, Jeremy Smith. Smith is now fit again, but the Salford coach, Shaun McRae, admits that it would be hard to leave out the younger player after his fine performances of late.