Saints ready for Viking battle

James Roby plays his 400th career match against Widnes
James Roby plays his 400th career match against Widnes

Saints are boosted by the return of influential scrum-half Luke Walsh when they take on Widnes Vikings on Friday night - a game that will mark team-mate James Roby’s 400th appearance of his career.

”We have three really tough games on our hands coming up but we can’t look further than Friday,” said Saints coach Keiron Cunningham. “We have to treat every game like a Grand Final.

“I think the top eight is done now and all teams are doing is jostling for positions. We have made up two points on the top four and there are lots of games left. Everything is up for grabs and I don’t think there will be a lot of points in it at the end.”

Having effectively clinched their place in the top eight following Salford’s failure to overturn their points deduction, Widnes can climb to within two points of Saints with victory in the Langtree Park derby.

The Vikings halted an eight-match losing run to kick-start their season and coach Denis Betts says his side are now determined to improve on their previous highest Super League finish of seventh in 2002.

“The top eight for us is about where we want to finish,” Betts said. “We’re climbing up towards our highest ever finish and that’s our goal. “

Matty Dawson is also recalled for Saints in place of winger Adam Swift, who was concussed in the win at Wakefield, and second-rower Dominique Peyroux is out with a leg injury.

Widnes are set to give a debut to forward Greg Burke following his arrival from Wigan and his former Warriors team-mate Connor Farrell is in line to make his return from a knee injury but hooker Aaron Heremaia is sidelined after taking a head knock in the win at Leeds.

Match stat:

Last season: St Helens 34 Widnes 16, Widnes 20 St Helens 30.

Last six league matches: St Helens L L L L W W Widnes L W L W L W.

Top try scorers: Joe Greenwood & Adam Swift (St Helens) 9; Corey Thompson (Widnes) 17.

Top goal scorers: Luke Walsh (St Helens) 55; Rhys Hanbury (Widnes) 53.

Referee: Gareth Hewer.