FIRST and foremost, this game should be put into context.

In pre-season friendlies, results and performances are pretty much secondary to getting miles in the legs and coming through injury-free.

That said, with a few things up in the air about The Wire’s team selection for the 2020 season opener next week, this was a chance for a few players to put their hand up.

Did they do that? Some certainly did their claims no harm and chief among them was Matty Ashton.

> VOTE: Choose your Wire man of the match from Salford pre-season victory

The youngster who took the Championship by storm last year appears to have jumped ahead of both Dec Patton and Jake Mamo for a spot in the team given his performance at full-back.

There were a few hairy moments of miscommunication, but it was nevertheless a hugely impressive display from the 21-year-old.

Warrington Guardian:

Has Matty Ashton booked his spot in the Wire team to face Wigan? Picture by Mike Boden

Naturally, Salford sent plenty of kicks his way but he was solid both in the air and on the ground. You would struggle to remember him making a single handling error.

He showed his electric pace to shut down clean breaks from Tui Lolohea and Niall Evalds – the second of those may have led to a Salford try off the next play but that was through no fault of his own.

With ball in hand, he looked lively and a try would have been the least he deserved for a display that showed huge promise.

He has surely booked his spot at number one against Wigan and there will be a few others who will hope to join him given their performances.

Luther Burrell – lean and slimmed down after a full pre-season – was a powerful and skilful presence in the second row while Danny Walker changed the momentum of the game when he came on.

> Steve Price on who impressed him against Salford

The Blake Austin-Stefan Ratchford axis in the halves got better as the game went along, very much in tune with the Wire performance as a whole after a first half that was frighteningly familiar.

A flat attack and needless penalties given away got fans panicking that this season was going to start in the same way the last ended – painfully.

Whether or not that can be put down to the blowing off of cobwebs remains to be seen, but the fact these old habits appear to be dying hard is concerning.

Against the kind of sides they expect to be competing against for silverware, that kind of display would have seen them out of the picture by half time.

Was the second half resurgence enough to dispel those worries? Probably not, but it is a step in the right direction.

Are The Wire ready for Wigan? Not long until we find out…