Harris begins Salford reign

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7th April 2014

Iestyn Harris took charge of Salford today after the Red Devils confirmed his appointment as their new head coach.

The 37-year-old Wales coach succeeds Brian Noble, who had been in the job just short of 12 months, and will be officially unveiled at a press conference at the AJ Bell Stadium on Wednesday.

"Iestyn started work in earnest this morning," said Salford chief executive Martin Vickers. "Along with (chairman) Marwan Koukash, he addressed the whole squad before the start of training."

Vickers said Noble has yet to give his response to an offer to move "upstairs" into the role of director of football.

The former Bradford Bulls, Wigan Warriors, Crusaders RL and Great Britain coach, who took over from Australian Phil Veivers last April, said at the weekend that he was taking legal advice after being taken by "surprise" by the latest development.

"Brian has been offered promotion to the director of football role and he is still considering that option," Vickers said. "We hope he takes it up."

Harris, a dual-code international, was released from his contract as assistant coach at Wigan last week to enable him to succeed Noble as a head coach for the second time.

He took over the reins at Crusaders three years ago after being Noble's assistant for the previous 12 months but lost his job at the end of the 2011 season when the Wrexham-based club pulled out of Super League and has spent the last two years as right-hand man to Shaun Wane at the DW Stadium.

Harris' first match in charge of the Red Devils will be against his old club Bradford, whom he captained to their last major trophy, a 30-10 win over Wests Tigers in the 2006 World Club Challenge at Huddersfield.

Vickers confirmed that Noble's assistant coaches Andy Hay and Stuart Donlan are still part of the Salford backroom team and that talks are under way with Sean Long to make his role permanent after he recently rejoined the club on a part-time consultancy basis.

"We are close to finalising a deal to keep Sean Long at the club on an extended arrangement," he said.

"Having invested heavily into the playing squad and the infrastructure of the club, Marwan is now investing further into the coaching staff to ensure that his initial investment pays off."

The change of head coach comes in the wake of Salford's 37-36 win over Hull FC in the fourth round of the Tetley's Challenge Cup but Koukash clearly decided on his latest move after the 30-8 loss to the same opponents in First Utility Super League a week earlier which left them outside the top eight.

Vickers also confirmed that the club intend to bring Australian Shane Flanagan to the club on a consultancy basis.

The 48-year-old Cronulla boss is currently suspended by the NRL following an investigation into the club's supplements programme during the 2011 season.

Vickers says the NRL have cleared Flanagan, who recently signed a new three-year contract with the Sharks from 2015, to spend time in Super League during his ban.

"Negotiations with Shane are progressing well," Vickers added. "We've agreed on a deal that covers the rest of the season and we are supported by both the NRL and the RFL.

"We are working on the visa application and hope to progress things quickly."