Saints ready for Hull test

St Helens head coach Keiron Cunningham
St Helens head coach Keiron Cunningham

Saints coach Keiron Cunningham says he is taking criticism of his team’s inconsistent form personally and will draw extra motivation from it.

The former club captain says he intends to stick by his guns as he prepares his side to take on surprise Super League leaders Hull.

“It means a lot to me,” Cunningham said ahead of Saturday’s match. “I am a local kid who grew up in our system. I fought hard from the age of 16 for this club.

“I do take it personal and hard when things aren’t going right.

“I don’t want to be letting the fans down and people like Eamonn McManus, Mike Rush and Mike Coleman. I will keep fighting until the end with these players.

“I still believe in this group and I am always confident we can do things this year.

“I know where we are heading and I have to stick by my guns. If anything, like when I was playing, it gives me added motivation to do even better.

“Having a point to prove and proving people wrong has been part of my life since I was young. I was told at 15 I wasn’t big enough and I wouldn’t make it.

“Now people are saying I won’t do anything for the club and I am not a good coach. For me that is added motivation to do well and I will prove a lot of people wrong.”

Cunningham spoke of his frustration over his team’s inconsistencies following their 48-20 defeat by Huddersfield over the Magic Weekend but they are still in touching distance of the pacesetters, although defeat at the KC Stadium would leave them six points behind Saturday’s opponents.

“Sunday was a bitter pill to swallow,” he said. “We have had some home truths in recent days - we are all striving for the same goal.

“We knew this four-game period would be big for us and now we are playing teams above us that are competing for the spots we want.

“It will be a good test for us and as a coach you wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Hull have climbed to the top on the back of a run of nine wins in their last 10 matches but coach Lee Radford believes there is yet more to come from his side.

“We’re really pleased with where we are at but we are fully aware it can change very quickly if we are not bang at it every week,” Radford said.

“We’re not looking at the table or points but what we are looking for is improvements because there’s plenty of them in us.”