SALFORD Red Devils have discovered the formula for success on a shoestring budget, but chief executive Ian Blease says there will be no penny-pinching ahead of Saturday’s Coral Challenge Cup final.

Because the game is being played behind closed doors at Wembley due to Covid-enforced restrictions, Blease admits it will be no money-spinner, but he says the club are sparing no expense to ensure the team will be fully prepared – and safe – for the clash with Leeds.

“We’ve had to book two floors at the hotel, all single rooms, and we’ve booked first-class carriages on the train,” Blease said.

“We’re not trying to be big time because that’s we’re not we’re like at Salford, it’s down to risk assessments.

“We’ve had to go that extra bit for the Covid. From stepping on to the coach out here on Thursday, there will be total isolation, even the training run at London Broncos has had to be risk-assessed.

“It’s a mini lockdown but it’s been like this for weeks. I think everybody is living on their nerves.

“We were tested last week and we’re all clear, we were tested again this morning and we get the results tomorrow. I’m sat here fingers crossed.”

Blease, a former captain, returned to the club four years ago following the buy-out by Marwan Koukash and, alongside coach Ian Watson, has gradually transformed their fortunes.

After avoiding relegation from Super League by the skin of their teeth in 2016, they have gone on to reach a maiden Grand Final and their semi-final defeat of holders Warrington has taken them to their first Wembley final since 1969.

“After half a century, it means everything to a lot of people within the city who have supported us for many years,” Blease said.

“I know we had the joy of getting to the Grand Final last year, but the historic nature of the Challenge Cup and the prestige that it brings to the club will be something to behold.

“It gets you a bit greedy, thinking, ‘I wouldn’t mind doing this every year’. It was always my ambition to come back and leave a legacy.”

Salford’s achievements have been made all the more remarkable given the parlous state of the club’s finances, which in the past has meant the sale of some of their players, most notably Ben Murdoch-Masila to Warrington and Gareth O’Brien to Toronto Wolfpack.

“I remember sat in the office four years ago when we were transferring Benny Murdoch,” Blease recalled.

“I had tears in my eyes signing the forms at half past nine at night. It was desperate and I’m thinking, ‘Have I really come here to do this sort of stuff?’

“I think we’ve probably had to do three rebuilds in just over four years and I’ve done another one year this year.

“You get used to it. We’ve come in for a bit of criticism for a couple of players we signed this year, but I knew they were good signings.

“We do our due diligence pretty well. We meet them and look behind the scenes at their family, personality and behaviour.

“They have to come for the right reasons, the culture, sometimes it’s wanting to be the underdog or wanting to prove people wrong.

“I can tell within five minutes whether they’re going to be good for our club or not and Watto is the same.”

The only downside to Salford’s Cup run is that it will culminate in an empty stadium and Blease does his best to conceal his anger.

“There’s things flying about on social media about concerts being held in London and people going on hunting trips,” he said.

“It’s an absolute disgrace and a real shame we can’t work something out with the Government and the council down there, but it is what it is.

“I can’t focus on that, I’ve got lots to do this week to make sure that everything is absolutely perfect for those boys when when they walk through that door at the hotel.”