Sale Sharks in Reebok move plan as trial games lined up

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , sports writer

WANDERERS are in the frame to become Sale Sharks’ new home if the rugby union giants decide to move.

Discussions have taken place between the two clubs about staging two matches at the Reebok Stadium as a trial. Sale are looking at new venues after becoming concerned at dwindling attendances at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford and other issues.

Newly-appointed chairman of the Aviva Premiership club, Gordon McKie, has revealed board members met on Wednesday night seeking to address problems over transport links, and game day management.

The Sharks moved from Edgeley Park to the £26m AJ Bell Stadium in the summer of 2012 and McKie and the committee are concerned about a drop in attendances from almost 8,000 to just under 6,000.

The club have held talks with Salford Council and Peel Holdings, who jointly own the Salford ground, to try to address issues over access from the M60 before and after games and matchday management.

Sale have signed a 25-year deal to play at Salford, but unless satisfactory solutions can be found to the problems they will look at moving.

It would not be the first time top-class rugby union has been played at the Reebok as the Sharks took on London Irish at Wanderers’ ground in April 2011.

Other locations mooted as potential new homes for Sale are Bury FC’s JD Stadium, Leigh Centurions’ Leigh Sports Village as well as a return to Edgeley Park.

Last season, Steve Diamond’s side avoided relegation but this campaign they are enjoying one of their most successful seasons sitting in seventh - three points off fourth as well as reaching the knockout stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Sale are looking for a quick resolution to any ground move in order to deal with administration issues including season ticket provision and hospitality arrangements.

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