Rugby League - Hunte shrugs off speculation at Salford

Salford caretaker coach Alan Hunte is refusing to get sidetracked by the speculation over his long-term future with the City Reds under ambitious owner Marwan Koukash.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Hunte shrugs off speculation at Salford
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Owner Marwan Koukash, pictured, has placed Alan Hunte in temporary charge of Salford

The former Great Britain centre, who has stepped into the breach following the sacking of Phil Veivers, has been promised "a shot" at the job full-time but for now all his focus is on Sunday's Super League match at Wakefield.

Hunte, whose day job at the City Reds is head of youth development, admits he has been "thrown in at the deep end" but has been grateful for the help of another former St Helens ace Sean Long, who kept his job of assistant coach following the sudden departure of Veivers last Sunday. "It's been an interesting week," Hunte said.

"You can't plan for these kind of things. All you can do is roll your sleeves up and crack on with it. The response in training has been good and Longy has been fantastic. I'm reliant on him because he knows the players a lot better than I do.

"They know me but they've not seen me coach and my influence will come to the fore in the weeks ahead. It's been a tough week for Sean but he's responded really well. His pedigree as a player was second to none and he's shown a willingness to work and move forward.

"It's been fantastic for me to work with him this week. It's certainly made things a lot smoother for me."

Koukash plans to speak to former Great Britain coach Brian Noble about the vacancy and New Zealander Tony Iro is among the list of potential overseas candidates but the owner also wants to see what sort of a job Hunte makes of it in the short term.

Hunte is determined not to allow that sort of pressure to affect him as he seeks to turn around last Friday's 38-4 home defeat by London Broncos that plunged the Reds to the foot of the table.

"The best way of going at the job is just concentrating on the role," he said. "If I worry about whether I'll keep the job, there's a danger of not doing it properly. If I got the job, fantastic, if not, well it's out of my hands, so I don't see the point in worrying about it. Whatever will be, will be."

Hunte has changes in mind but accepts it could take time to implement all of them. For his first match in charge he recalls youngsters Nial Evalds, Gareth Owen and Theo Fages and welcomes back from suspension prop Lee Jewitt as well as winger Danny Broughton, who missed last week's defeat by London after being stuck in a traffic jam.

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