SEAN O’Loughlin expects Brian Noble to inject a double-dose of self-belief into ambitious Salford at the DW Stadium tonight.
The Wigan skipper worked closely with Noble when he guided the club away from the threat of relegation.
Salford themselves are battling near the bottom of the ladder after a woeful start to the campaign.
But new owner Dr Marwan Koukash is preparing to bankroll a bid to make them a Super League force under the control of Noble, who enjoyed a debut win over Castleford last week. And O’Loughlin knows first hand just what a lift he can give them.
The 30-year-old said: “One of the great things Nobby did when he came here was motivate everyone.
“He gave us that belief and confidence, and when you’re going through tough times it’s what you need.
“He knows his stuff, he’s a clued up coach, but when you go into a club mid-season you need everyone enjoying rugby and a big part of that is man-management.
“When he came to Wigan, he instilled a lot of confidence. It was a a tough time, he picked everyone’s mood up – there was a realistic chance we could have been relegated.
“He came in as a breath of fresh air, it was a good change.
“It’s hard to say what would have happened had no not come, because we had the personnel to win games when Nobby came in, but he was the kind of character we needed at the time.”
Shaun Wane was in charge of Wigan’s Under-18s when Noble was at the club.
He said: “I’ve not worked with Nobby for years. I didn’t know him when he worked here.”
Wane is ready to thrust Anthony Gelling into the mix and rest Pat Richards tonight as leaders Wigan seek their first ‘double’ of the season, following a 42-0 opening day win.
Salford, who yesterday signed Darrell Griffin from Leeds after he impressed on a loan stint, will face an RFL tribunal next Wednesday and could be docked points after fielding 14 players for part of their win against Castleford.