Salford Red Devils boss Paul Rowley faces off with Sky Sports pundit and ex-St Helens man Jon Wilkin over ‘backbone’ comments

Sky Sports pundit and former St Helens star Jon Wilkin has angered Salford Red Devils fans in recent weeks with some of his comments that have been made.

During Castleford Tigers’ live game against Warrington Wolves in July, Wilkin attracted the ire of Salford fans with his comments on the club’s chances of reaching the Super League play-offs.

“They’re flimsy,” Wilkin said live on air.

“They can attack their way out of trouble to a certain extent but there’s got to be a point where you have some steel and backbone and I just don’t see Salford having any backbone.

“If you look at the fixtures (they’ve got) Warrington, Hull and Castleford, how big are they because they’re the teams in the mix.

“It’s a big end to the season for Salford but I just don’t think they have the minerals to get it done.”

Salford have clearly taken being written off as extra motivation, with the Red Devils putting top four stalwarts Catalans Dragons and St Helens to the sword in emphatic fashion, with a 44-12 thrashing of reigning champions Saints underlining Salford’s play-off ambitions.

However, the Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley has no qualms with Wilkin about those comments.

“We’re pretty chilled, we don’t sweat the small stuff and there’s been a lot made of it,” Rowley said live on Sky Sports.

“We know what we are about and if he had his time again he would probably choose some other adjectives to describe us.

“We accept opinions and it’s up to us to prove opinions wrong.”

Wilkin himself responded, waxing lyrical about Salford’s transformation since making those comments.

“At that point in the year it looked completely different and Salford’s attack was going great but I was wondering if they would get it together but wow they’ve got it together.

“You only know what is going on in the dressing room and you take a lot of confidence from that. As a pundit, my job is to create some debate – healthy debate – otherwise I will sit there and do nothing.

“Brian carney is obsessed with drawing us into predictions about who will finish where, but in Brodie Croft in terms of star quality, he is going under the radar and he is one of the finds of the year.

“Playing front foot, ad lib, supporting, he is a player I would have loved to have played with.”

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