Agnatius Paasi set to return to Saints squad to face Warrington
Agnatius Paasi - dubbed the Enforcer in some quarters - is expected to return to Saints' 21-man squad ahead of Thursday's home game against Warrington Wolves (kick-off 7.45pm).
The 29-year-old Tongan international is back in full training following a minor hamstring tear and head coach Kristian Woolf hinted yesterday that he will be available for selection.
But centre Mark Percival, who has been plagued by a hamstring problem for part of the season. is still ruled out.
The Wire have more than a decent record against their neighbours in recent years and the encounter, which will be screened live by Sky TV, could be a humdinger.
Woolf said: ''Warrington are a good side and one of the best in the competition and both teams will be excited by the challenge ahead.''
Saints have had a free week following the postponement of the fixture at Leeds due to Covid-19 hitting the Rhinos' camp and brought a mixed reaction from the coach.
Woolf said: ''We were disappointed that the match was called off but at the same time a break where the season stands now will be of benefit to the players.''
Both squads will be named at lunch-time today.
Meanwhile, Saints prop Matty Lees is facing a race against time in his bid to avoid the heartbreak of missing out on a second Challenge Cup final in three years.
The 23-year-old has not played since breaking an ankle in Saints’ opening-round win over Leeds in April which Woolf said would sideline him for 10 to 11 weeks.
The Wembley showdown with Castleford is now under five weeks away but Woolf hopes the player can get at least one Super League game under his belt before the final.
Lees was in St Helens’ victorious Grand Final team last November but was forced to sit out the Challenge Cup final against Warrington in 2019 with a serious abdominal injury, which also ruled him out of contention for the Great Britain tour to New Zealand that year.
“He missed out on a number of big things in 2019 and got the opportunity to make a little bit of amends at the end of last year,” Woolf said.
“Like every player, he wants to be in the big games and he’s certainly a player we want for those big games.
“I’d hope and expect he’s going to be back in time and hopefully he’ll get a game or two before that under his belt so he can have some confidence and be ready to go for Wembley.”
The champions will definitely be without second-rower James Bentley for the final as he continues his recovery from a broken leg.