St Helens sweat on fitness of key man ahead of Hull KR Super League clash

Mark Percival’s chances are ‘touch and go’ according to head coach Kristian Woolf.

<p>Mark Percival</p>

Mark Percival

Saints have left a decision over whether Mark Percival will be fit for Sunday’s home game against Hull KR until the 11th-hour.

The 28-year-old England international centre missed last weekend’s 28-14 win over Toulouse Olympique in the south of France due to a niggling knee injury and head coach Kristian Woolf said his chances of facing the Robins were ‘touch and go’ at this stage.

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The club are monitoring his progress on a daily basis and keeping their fingers crossed that he will be part of the 21-man squad which will be announced on Friday.

The Humbersiders, who now have former Saints’ ace Lachlan Coote in their ranks, had an impressive 43-16 home victory over Salford Red Devils on Sunday and despite a dismal record at the Totally Wicked Stadium, Woolf insists they are potentially a top six side and can’t be under-estimated in any shape or form.

“They play a style of football which suits them and are prepared to chance their hand on occasions,” he said.

“They definitely have a structure if you watch how they operate closely and I applaud them for this which is different from some other clubs.”

It will also be a special day for skipper James Roby who is only 80 minutes away from becoming the all-time Super League appearance record holder.

Sunday’s fixture will mark his 455 game, deposing former Leeds Rhinos’ Kevin Sinfield at the top of the table.

Woolf said: ‘’ If you look at what he turns up and delivers week-in and week-out in terms of effort and energy and what he puts his body through sets him apart from anyone else. That is his real and mental strength and to do that on such a consistent basis is remarkable.

‘’He has done this all year, as well as being really threatening round the ruck . You can also rely on him to give absolutely everything in all matches. ‘’

Roby is due to hang up his boots at the end of the season after initially joining his hometown club in 2004 but Woolf hinted that he would be a valuable asset behind the scenes.

‘’He is well respected at the club and I’m sure we could keep him here in some capacity if that’s what he wants,” said the head coach.

Meanwhile, Tommy Makinson has been named the Rugby League player of the month for May in which he produced a string of fine performances.

The flying winger crossed for three tries during this period, made three clean breaks, and ran for 322 metres in rounds 12 and 13.

He also began May with a two-try display against Hull FC before producing a man of the match 80 minutes display against Warrington Wolves.