Premier League side bolstered by fact-finding mission to Saints

Saints hosted Premier League strugglers Stoke City
Saints hosted Premier League strugglers Stoke City
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Saints will be hoping to play a part, however small, in helping struggling Stoke City avoid relegation from the money-spinning English Premier Division this season.

Backroom staff from the Potteries’ club, who are next to the bottom of the table and without a win in their last five fixtures, were given a whistle-stop tour of St Helens’ state-of-the-art facilities at Cowley on Monday which was organised by the Super League outfit’s head of strength and conditioning Matt Daniels.

They also watched the players training at the Ruskin complex and then exchanged views with their Saints’ counterparts, possibly picking up some useful tips on how to avoid the big drop!

Saints’ head coach Justin Holbrook said: “I like learning off other sports myself and while soccer is a massive game in this country, it was great Stoke wanted to visit our club and look around the facilities.

“Obviously football is a massive game in this country and while we are a smaller sport, it was still a feather in our cap that they wanted to come here.”

Late last year, Holbrook and members of his staff enjoyed the reverse experience when they headed for the States to study the workings of American football, ice hockey and basketball and also took time to also visit NFL outfit Seattle Seahawks.

The Saints’ boss said on their return it had been “refreshing to get your head out of your own sport, while still at the same time thinking what we can implement in rugby league from other games”.

He added: “It was definitely worthwhile and we all came back really excited about starting pre-season.”