MIKE Rush insists Saints are definitely out of the running to sign Matty Smith – despite the player himself claiming he’s yet to decide where his future lies.
The in-demand ex Saints ace appeared to turn one of the season’s biggest transfer sagas on its head by denying reports he had signed for Wigan.
It was thought Smith had signed for Wigan, with his Salford coach Phil Veivers saying he was “dead certain” of the move.
Saints had made an offer for the player, but Rush confirmed on Monday the club had given up hope of re-signing the England Knights star.
“He has signed for Wigan as far as we are concerned,” Rush told the Reporter.
But the player himself insisted he was yet to confirm where he will play next season.
“I’ve yet to sign anywhere. Until I actually do that, with whichever club it’s going to be, I can’t really say,” said Smith.
Smith spent the early part of his career with St Helens as understudy to Sean Long before moving to Widnes and then Salford.
And he credits his upturn in form to the guiding hand of his former team-mate Long, who is now assistant coach with the Reds.
Meanwhile, caretaker boss Rush says the asking price for Castleford’s Rangi Chase has ruled out Saints making a bid for the player.
Rush said a reported £350,000 transfer fee, plus Chase’s likely wage demands, would both act as major stumbling blocks.
But he added: “We’re very happy with Lance, Jonny and Lee Gaskell, and there’s always Jon Wilkin as a fourth option in the halves.
“There’s not many teams out there that would pay a £350,000 transfer fee for anyone at the moment, and the salary cap makes it difficult to have four players for each position.”
n MIKE Rush paid tribute to his players efforts in difficult weather conditions at Salford on Friday night.
He said: “You can’t under-estimate those conditions which were horrendous.
“We have been working at putting pressure on them by sticking the ball in the air.
“It’s not by a fluke, it’s by practice.”
He added: “I thought we were a little bit frustrated by our first half performance, and the way we went about things, producing some errors in yardage and giving penalties away but we picked up in the final 40 minutes.”
Rush added: “We had spoken at half-time about knowing we were capable of winning the game, and just needed to do the things that we do well.
“We got into the grind and won the battle for territory, and when we had the chance to post some points, we did so.”