Coach Nathan Brown is hoping that a longer than normal break from competitive action will give him a little extra breathing space to assess whether long-term absentee James Roby is fit enough to face the Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium in Monday night’s TV match.
Hooker Roby has missed the last 10 matches due to an ankle injury and significantly Saints have lost seven of them.
He has been wrapped in cotton wool during the past couple of weeks but confidence is growing in the camp that his renaissance will begin at a club which parted company with Brown in the middle of last season following a string of poor results.
Saints themselves are currently suffering a similar barren spell and will be desperately keen to avoid a second defeat of the season against their West Yorkshire rivals who won 40-4 at Langtree Park on the opening day of the campaign.
Skipper Paul Wellens, who was ruled out of last weekend’s 48-22 defeat against Warrington Wolves after taking a couple of knock in the win at Leeds, is expected to return to the starting line-up but there are question marks over the fitness of Lance Hohaia after he suffered a dead leg against the Wire and Anthony Laffranchi whose game time was cut short by an injury.
Brown will also be looking for a positive response from his player after their eight-try demolition at the Etihad Stadium but that won’t by easy against second-in-the-table Huddersfield who, unlike recent seasons, are showing no signs of a mid-term blip.
“We made it too easy for Warrington but can’t repeat that level of performance against my old club or we will suffer a similar fate, “ said Brown.
He added: “We didn’t make it hard enough for them at all. They carved us on the right edge and neither was our middle too flash.”