Cunningham eyes improvement for derby

Action between Saints and Wigan on Good Friday
Action between Saints and Wigan on Good Friday

Despite appearing to have turned the corner in terms of consistency, Saints head coach Keiron Cunningham will be demanding even more improvement at Wigan on Friday night.

The club looked to be going nowhere positive when suffering four defeats in late May and early June but now, following a similar run of success, they still have realistic hopes of finishing in the top four at the end of the regular Super League season.

Cunningham said: “I told the players that when you come through a bumpy period wins bring relief and from there comes self-belief.

“We are in a good place but could we be better? Of course we could and we are working hard to get there. We are working to improve for Friday and for the weeks after that.

“We will have a crack at all the teams above us in the Super 8s. There will be plenty of points won and lost for all teams as there are too many good sides in this competition.

“The more form we carry into the back end of the year the better it will be.”

Saints alsol be expecting their supporters to repeat the backing they gave the players in the victory at Huddersfield on Sunday and inspire them to a fifth win on the spin.

The Saints boss said: “The fans were sensational. There was a period in the second half when we defended five or six sets that they lifted us and brought us home.

“They have been phenomenal of late and have definitely helped us turn the corner.”

St Helens have no real injury concerns ahead of the eagerly-awaited derby but among others Wigan will be without winger Josh Charnley and forward Taulima Taulima due to suspension.

Cunningham will name his side from:

1. Jonny Lomax, 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 7. Luke Walsh, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Lama Tasi, 15. Greg Richards, 17. Luke Thompson, 20. Joe Greenwood, 22. Jack Owens, 23. Shannon McDonnell, 24. Matty Fleming, 28. Morgan Knowles.

Shaun Wane will choose his 19 from:

1. Sam Tomkins, 4. Dan Sarginson, 5. Dominic Manfredi, 6. George Williams, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Dominic Crosby, 10. Ben Flower, 13. Sean O’Loughlin, 14. John Bateman, 16. Sam Powell, 17. Lee Mossop, 20. Oliver Gildart, 21. Ryan Sutton, 22. Lewis Tierney, 24. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 25. Willie Isa, 30. Jack Higginson, 33. Kyle Shelford, 35. Jake Shorrocks.

The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee is Phil Bentham.