JAMES Roby, who has missed the last nine games with an ankle injury, is moving closer every day to pulling on a Saints’ jersey once more.
However, whether he will be fully fit to return against Warrington Wolves in the Magic Weekend clash at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday is open to conjecture.
Speaking after the victory at Leeds, head coach Nathan Brown said: “Roby is very close to a return to first team action and if it had been a Grand Final tonight he would probably have been included in the squad.
“Other injured players are not too far off full fitness and hopefully in the next few weeks we will have an even stronger group.”
Realistically, hooker Roby, who recently had a moon boot removed from his damaged ankle, may still be looking at the beginning of next month as a possible comeback date.
He will, however, be left kicking his heels in frustration if not given a second opportunity of the season to pit his wits and skills against the Wire after scoring his only try of Super League XVIII in a 22-10 victory at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium in early March.
The England international has certainly enjoyed more ups than downs since the Magic concept was first introduced in 2007, Saints having won three, lost two drawn one of their six matches.
Roby’s favourite Magic memory is the 16-16 draw against Wigan Warriors at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff, in 2011.
“To come back from 16-0 down and almost win the game with our last conversion represented a great comeback, especially in such a hard fought derby,” said Roby, who described the atmosphere inside the stadium that day as ‘fantastic’.
He added: “Games between Saints and Warrington always bring out the best in both teams and I don’t expect this to be any different this weekend.
“We got the better of them earlier the season and they will be thirsting for revenge but we’ll once more be ready to take the game to them.”
Unlike Roby, Warrington’s St Helens-born stand-off Lee Briers is expected to be included in coach Tony Smith’s squad after recovering from injury.
Briers, who started his career at Knowsley Road, said: “We will not be thinking about playing on a big stage and getting our own back on Saints.
“It will simply be a question of trying to grab two points.”
Saints skipper Paul Wellens said: “We showed a great deal of character and effort to ovecome Leeds on Monday night and will need to do the same against Warrington.
“We will not get carried away by the Headingley result but hopefully we can build on that victory.”