Interim Salford City Reds head coach Alan Hunte found an unlikely ally in his search for a permanent position, after Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez sent him a ‘good luck’ text.
Hunte got the message as he prepares for his first home game in charge against a Warrington Wolves side determined to avoid three consecutive Super League defeats.
The 42-year-old, whose situation has drawn comparisons with Benitez under Roman Abramovich, was delighted with the message, despite initially believing it was a joke.
“I got a text off him saying good luck,” he told Sporting Life.
“I thought someone was trying to take the mickey at first but I got somebody to make sure it was the right number.
“I was made up. I phoned my daughters and said ‘how good’s that’? I sent him a reply saying ‘thank you very much’ and ‘well played at the weekend’.”
The former St Helens and Warrington centre secured a point in his first game and is hoping a good performance this week will see his contract extended.
“I want to do well because I’m in the job and, if that means I get to keep it, then I’d be a fool to turn it down,” he said.
“Marwan [Koukash] is a very ambitious owner and he wants what he feels is best for the club. I have no doubt they are looking at other people.
“To be successful in business you’ve got to look at all the options and see what is best. I’m sure that’s what they are doing.
“In the meantime, we still have to do the job.”
Salford stunned the Wolves 48-24 in this fixture last year, but Hunte – who scored 49 tries in 83 appearances for Warrington – is under no illusion about the difficulty of their task.
“They’re a good team who have lost two matches,” he said. “I wouldn’t call it a stutter.
“They have world-class players and a world-class coach in Tony Smith and we definitely haven’t been saying ‘this is the time to get them’.
“There’s no good time to play Warrington. They’re going to be in the mix right through the season and we’ve got to be prepared to play them at their best.”
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