Saints’ record on their Super League trips to Headingley isn’t anything to write home about - 16 defeats when including play-offs since 1996.
Add Old Trafford Grand Final setbacks in 2007/8/9 and 2011, as well as Leeds being the only club to lower St Helens’ colours at the Totally Wicked Stadium this year, it seems the Rhinos have the Indian sign over their rivals.
But facts and figures are only what statisticians like to dwell on and they won’t mean a jot when two of summer rugby’s big guns stand toe to toe east of the Pennines on Friday night in a bid to silence one another.
The defending champions are certainly not in the best of form at this stage of the season, lying seventh in the table following eight defeats, seven wins and a draw under their belts.
However, they invariably lift their game when Saints are in town and Justin Holbrook’s outfit will have to pull out all the stops if they are to take their unbeaten league and cup run to nine matches.
The St Helens boss said: “It’s always a tough game against Leeds whatever the circumstances.
“Obviously they have been inconsistent this year and won’t be happy where they sit in the table at this moment in time but always seem to play well against us and do a good job.”
Saints will continue to take one step at a time in their bid for top spot with Holbrook insisting that ‘the minute you start looking too far ahead then you will be in trouble’.
Jonny Lomax (slight knee problem) and Jon Wilkin (ill) missed last Friday’s home win over Hull KR but are back in Friday’s 19-man squad while Kyle Amor is ruled out through injury and is replaced by Jack Ashworth.
Justin Holbrook will therefore, select his 17 from: 1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 9. James Roby, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 18. Danny Richardson, 19. Regan Grace, 20. Matty Lees, 21. Jack Ashworth, 23. Ben Barba.
Brian McDermott will choose his Leeds’ side from: 1. Ashton Golding, 2. Tom Briscoe, 4. Liam Sutcliffe, 5. Ryan Hall, 6. Joel Moon, 8. Adam Cuthertson, 9. Matt Parcell, 13. Stevie Ward, 14. Brad Dwyer, 16. Anthony Mullally, 17. Mitch Garbutt, 19. Brett Ferres, 22. Ash Handley, 23. Jack Ormondroyd, 24. Jack Walker, 25. Jordan Lilley, 26. Harry Newman, 27. Cameron Smith, 30. Josh Walters.
The game kicks off at 7.45pm and the referee will be Ben Thaler.