FORMER Saints rugby league star Sean Long has appeared before magistrates in St Helens today to deny a charge of assaulting a woman.

Dressed in a dark suit and shirt, Long spoke to confirm his name, age, address and to enter a not guilty plea.

The 36-year-old from Billinge, Wigan, who is currently assistant coach at Salford City Reds, faces an allegation that he assaulted the 40-year-old Pamela Twist in Rainford in May.

However there were no further details about the alleged incident.

Asking for an adjournment in the case, Long’s solicitor Sean Joyce said: “At the first blush, this case may appear simple, but there is a significant history and background between the relevant parties.

“The defendant raises an alibi and there are a number of extensive enquiries I will have to make. There are an unknown number of potential alibi witnesses and potential CCTV from two separate establishments I would seek to obtain.

“There is an issue of medical evidence and a potential two to three defence medical experts I need to get reports from.

“It is also a case that will attract not an insignificant amount of media interest.”

Former Great Britain international Long was given conditional bail and told to return to St Helens Magistrates’ Court in mid January for a case management hearing.

The charge of section 39 common assault is a summary offence, meaning Long will go on trial at the magistrates court, rather than crown court.