Warrington Wolves keep close eye on cash-strapped Swinton Lions ahead of renewing development partnership

Warrington Guardian: Adrian Morley and Gareth O'Brien playing for Swinton Lions earlier this year Adrian Morley and Gareth O'Brien playing for Swinton Lions earlier this year

WARRINGTON Wolves are keeping watch on the investment situation at partner club Swinton Lions, who have been having ‘short-term cash flow problems’.

Plan B may be needed for a link-up team in which Wolves players too old for the under 19s academy can appear in order to gain match experience or fitness rather than sitting out if not needed for Super League duty on any given weekend.

Young full-time professionals from Warrington – including Gareth O’Brien, Brad Dwyer, Glenn Riley, James Laithwaite and Danny Bridge - looked to develop as they plied their trade with Swinton in the Kingstone Press Championship for spells last season, while senior stars like Adrian Morley, Lee Briers, Paul Wood and Chris Bridge made comebacks from injury in Lions shirts.

A decision appears to be close about the future operation of the Championship club, with two potential investors being considered.

It is being speculated that Salford Red Devils owner Marwen Koukash is showing interest, with the thought suggested of Swinton becoming a feeder club to their Greater Manchester rivals.

Wolves have ruled out financial investment from their part, but they did share resources with Swinton last season – including training facilities at University of Chester’s Padgate Campus.

Meanwhile, Cumbrian Gary Chambers has returned to the Super League club after spending most of last term as replacement to Steve McCormack in the head coach’s role at Swinton.

Wolves chief executive Andy Gatcliffe said: “The plan we have for next season is more of the same. It continues as is.

“There is speculation about Marwen Koukash looking at Swinton and talking to them. That’s none of our business whatsoever.

“If things change, our plans might change but at the moment we’re planning for more of the same.

“I thought the relationship last season was important for all sides. Swinton needed players, we needed somewhere for players to play, so it suited both parties and worked very well.

“The players benefited from it and that was the key thing.”

Wolves’ newly promoted head of youth, junior recruitment and development, Ben Lazenby, has little option but to wait for the outcome of Swinton’s financial dealings.

He knows more than most that should Swinton terminate their role as Warrington’s partner club, a replacement option must be found in order for Wolves to maintain the development of players too old to be eligable for the current under 19s system.

“The under 19s will continue as it is and there will not be another layer of competition such as an under 23s or even a return to the previous system, as much as we would like there to be,” he said.

“We will be looking at that partnership and will be trying to develop it further, ideally continuing the relationship between ourselves and Swinton.

“The way that the current structures are set, we must have an outlet for those players caught between the under 19s and the first team.

“We will do what is best for those players and the club, but there are things that are simply out of our control at the moment.”

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