Wherever you are – this one is intense!

Mark Flanagan has played in derbies on both sides of the divide
Mark Flanagan has played in derbies on both sides of the divide
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Mark Flanagan has warned his Saints colleagues not to let Wigan’s 2015 away form affect how they approach Friday’s blockbuster.

Warriors have won just three times away from their DW Stadium home all year - at Wakefield, Magic Weekend, and last week’s win over Huddersfield, but the Saints utility says his former club are well and truly out of their rut.

Aiming to avoid having a league double put over them by their arch enemy, Saints need to dominate in the forwards according to Flanagan.

“They’ve picked up after the little blip they had,” he said.

“They have a great squad and plenty of good players to pick from.

“Our pack’s been really good all year and if we can shape up in the middle we have plenty of skill out wide as well.”

Flanagan is one of a handful of players who get to experience the biggest derby in the sport from both camps.

Having signed for Wigan in 2007, his performance against Saints in a defeat at Knowsley Road alerted the rugby league world to his talent - so much so he went on to join the NRL’s Wests Tigers.

Now with his feet firmly on this side of Billinge Hill, Flanagan admits there is a spark in the atmosphere in training this week.

“I’ve played in a few Wigan Saints derbies now and it’s no less intense on either side of the fence,” he said.

“It’s going to be a great occasion against this week.

“The fans love it and the players love it.

“There’s a bit more intention in training, there’s a bit of an atmosphere and everyone’s just ready to go really.”

But keeping the intensity turned up to 11 in training won’t be the key to avenging Saints’ defeat to Wigan on Good Friday according to Flanagan.

He thinks staying fresh will be key - and is happy to cover whichever position is needed by coach Keiron Cunningham.

“We’ll ease into it at the end of the week and hopefully come up with the goods on Friday,” he said.

“I’ve had the utility tag for quite a bit of my career and to be able to play a few positions is fine by me.

“I like to do what’s best for the team. Losing James Roby is obviously a big loss but I’m happy to do a job there and we have plenty of good players around me.”