‘I am happy where we are in title race’

St Helens Kyle Amor is tackled by Salford Red Devils' Lama Tasi and  Tim Smith (right), during the First Utility Super League match at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford

St Helens Kyle Amor is tackled by Salford Red Devils' Lama Tasi and Tim Smith (right), during the First Utility Super League match at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford

0
Have your say

Saints coach Nathan Brown has declared himself satisfied with the progress his team is making at the half-way stage of the Super League season.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Magic Weekend showdown with neighbours Warrington Wolves at the home of Barclays Premiership champions Manchester City, the St Helens boss declared: “If someone had said at the start of the season we would be in second spot by mid-May I would have taken it.

He said: “We are confident and I think people forget we are only a point behind Leeds Rhinos and still the only team to beat them this season.

“All teams lose games during the year and we’ve had a flat period - some due to our own performance and some due to circumstances.

“I am happy where we are in the title race and despite the disappointment of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup loss at Headingley when beaten by the best team in the comp, I don’t think there is any need to worry about our confidence going forward.”

Brown is also keeping his fingers crossed that key members of his first team squad, Jordan Turner (foot injury) and dead leg victims Mark Percival and Gary Wheeler, will return to the squad this weekend but a final decision on their fitness will be left until the 11th-hour.

It will help compensation for the continued absence of Kyle Amor (out for three months with knee ligament trouble), Willie Manu (fractured thumb) and Anthony Laffranchi (arm damage).

Warrington, too, have been suffering from a spate of injuries lately but are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully will have scrum half Richie Myler in contention for a starting spot.

International second rower Ben Westwood, who has been sidelined for six week with a calf tear, is also close to a recall but whether he will be fully fit by this weekend is open to debate.

Saints go into Sunday’s match with one victory over their neighbours in 2014 - a convincing 38-8 success at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium in February.

It was the start of an eight-match unbeaten run in Super League, which came to an end with Easter setbacks against Wigan Warriors and Widnes Vikings.

Since then Saints have got back on the horse with wins over London Broncos and Bradford Bulls and will looking to make it three in row at the Etihad.

But in recent years it has been hard to predict the outcome of fixtures between two evenly matched clubs who more often than not have produced thrill-a-minute 80-minute blockbusters.