Veivers ready to blood youngsters
28th January 2013
Salford City Reds coach Phil Veivers is preparing to give a host of youngsters their Super League baptism against Wigan Warriors on Friday as he waits for the club’s long-awaited takeover to be completed.
Veivers has a list of experienced players on stand-by to plug the gaps created by the departure of eight members of last year’s squad but he cannot go ahead with the signings until Dr Marwan Koukash finalises his buy-out.
Koukash, a millionaire racehorse owner, has pledged to make funds available immediately for team strengthening and it is thought the paperwork could be completed by the middle of the week, but that is almost certain to be too late for Veivers to bring in reinforcements against the Warriors.
“I’m still waiting to see what happens this week,” said Veivers, whose current 24-strong squad includes several untested novices.
“You can only play the cards you are dealt. At this moment in time I’ve got to prepare with what I’ve got.”
Former Wigan and Great Britain centre Martin Gleeson is one of seven players Veivers is hoping to bring in, but he says the delays are already proving costly and he warns it could be weeks or even months before he is able to assemble what he considers to be a competitive team.
“I’ve probably lost a couple of them now because of how late it’s gone but the ones that are still there and available are in pretty good shape at the moment,” he said.
“But fans will have to be patient. If you’re going to put new bodies in there, it’s going to take time a team time to gel.
“And, if they are in Australia, they can’t train with us and there’s a timescale between signing and getting visas and work permits and so on.”
Salford captain Stephen Wilde, speaking at today’s Super League launch in Manchester, said the team were keen to start playing after enduring a close season of anxiety and uncertainty.
One proposed takeover fell through before Christmas when a joint rescue bid by the local council and ground developers Peel Holdings collapsed and Wilde is refusing to build up his hopes just yet.
“Until we actually see it’s signed, we’re still a bit wary as players because we’ve been here before,” he said.
“We just want to get out on the field now. I think it’s come at the right time for us.
“It’s gone from a tricky off-season where we didn’t even know if we are going to have a club and now we play Wigan on Friday. The boys are keen to get started and start building for the future.
“It’s been awkward but the boys have stuck together through it.”