INJURY jinxed Ade Gardner is on the brink of returning to the Saints’ squad as they step up their challenge for at least a top-three spot in Super League.
Winger Gardner, scorer of nearly 170 tries since joining from Barrow Border Raiders at the end of the 2001 campaign, has only featured in nine games during Super League XVII, but admits he is itching to play a part in what is turning into a fascinating run-in to the play-offs.
Hopefully it will bring to an end a long and cruel run of ill-luck for the former Great Britain international.
Gardner’s 2011 season was cut short when he tore his Achilles tendon against Crusaders at the end of May, and after returning to first team duty at the start of the current season, he was carried off injured in the Easter Monday match at Castleford Tigers.
It kept him on the sidelines until the May Magic Weekend clash with Wigan at the Etihad Stadium, only to pick up another injury in that game.
Whether he will be included in caretaker coach Mike Rush’s squad for Sunday night’s home game against Huddersfield Giants remains to be seen, as competition for places in what is a near injury-free group of player is red hot.
Giants, now under the guidance of former Saints prop Paul Anderson following the departure of St Helens-bound Nathan Brown, are currently in freefall.
They have won only one of their last eight league and cup ties, and that was against bottom-of-the-table London Broncos.
But interim coach Mike Rush won’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the current barren spell of a club who won the early season encounter between the clubs 17-16 at the Galpharm Stadum.
Tickets for the game, which kicks-off at 7.45pm, are still on sale for the East Stand priced £15 (adults), £10 (young adults and pensioners) and £5 (juniors).