Yates' view: It's top v bottom but Saints know the dangers
Yop versus bottom doesn't always go to plan whatever the sport and Betfred Super League leaders St Helens won't be treating Friday's trip to pointless Leigh Centurions as a walk in the park.
Derby matches. in particular, often turn the form book on its head and the defending champions don't need reminding that the Centurions took neighbours Wigan Warriors down to the wire in the opening fixture of the campaign at Headingley in March, storming into to an 18-0 lead within 27 minutes, only to go down 20-18 in an explosive encounter.
Neither have Saints reached anywhere near their peak so far this year - and that's not surprising at this early stage of the season when all clubs are feeling their way.
But they have still managed to carve out four league wins and progress to the quarter final stages of the Betfred Challenge Cup.and according to head coach Kristian Woolf can only get better in the weeks ahead.
Saints have not yet been able to field a fully fit squad this season but Woolf was quick to allay any fears that centre Mark Percival, who has only played seven games in the last couple of years (five in 2020 and two in 2021), had picked up another injury when substituted in the second half of Thursday's win at Huddersfield.
''Percy is 100 per cent fit and we had planned to withdraw him when we did,'' said Woolf, who insisted that Saints were more dangerous with him in the side.
The England international said: ''I have been working hard in training and doing everything to get on the playing pitch on a regular basis.
''We have also won our first four league fixtures but it is still early doors and Leigh will be ready for us.
''Obviously, we will be taking every game as it comes in preparation for those big fixtures further down the line.''
Saints' match at Leigh Sports Village, which kicks-off at 6pm, will be shown live on Our League for all 2021 members.