YOU do have to feel for the Red Devils coach Ian Watson as he faces numerous battles to keep hold of his shining stars.

With his Salford side, the next challengers to visit the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday, surprising many - including me - with how well they have performed in the Betfred Super League this season, currently sixth and knocking on the door of a play-off position.

One of Watson’s biggest challenges long term is keeping his star performers at the AJ Bell, after this week going public that six or seven players have enquired about moving on, That’s something the head coach thinks is unfair now that the team are attracting more publicity due to their performances in 2019, especially players who have learnt their trade via the Salford Academy system. Unfortunately for him...that’s sport!

However, this wasn’t the case last week as his team bowed out of the Challenge Cup to the inconsistent Hull Kingston Rovers. The biggest immediate challengers seeing how they handle the league leaders in their own back yard.

They face a Saints side who themselves will be looking for an improved performance despite making the bag for the Challenge Cup Quarter Final draw with a win away at the Huddersfield Giants on Sunday.

I always think Huddersfield is a tough place to go, never the best atmosphere and up against a team who you don’t know what you are going to get. After five minutes it looked like Saints would score at will, but all credit to the Giants and our repeated errors it went down to the wire, with Saints claiming the win by 22-16.

This week certainly won’t be easy, although Super League title sponsors Betfred have Saints 1/6 favourites to topple the Red Devil’s on Friday, with wing sensation Regan Grace 7/1 fav to score the first 4-pointer. Grace currently on 12 tries, only two behind Warrington Wolves talisman Blake Austin so far this season.

Grace was outstanding again at weekend, a continuous threat every time his got his hands on the ball. He is really putting his hand up for international honours at the moment.

Betfred have the Saints 5/4 favourites for Grand Final glory come October, with Warrington 7/4, Wigan 10/1 and despite some horrendous injury problems, Castleford at 12/1.

In other news, RL is again about to embark on a historic event with the first ever game at the iconic Nou Camp Stadium home of Barcelona FC.

The Catalan Dragons have moved their home fixture against the Wigan Warriors, in an attempt to further promote the Betfred Super League in Catalonia.

Hopefully, with the football giants helping promote the game on their social media channels, we can see new blood enjoying the greatest game in the world. It will most certainly be an experience or the players taking part.