‘They’ll really come at us’ - St Helens boss Paul Wellens relishing Wigan Warriors derby

Saints coach Paul Wellens. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.Saints coach Paul Wellens. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
Saints coach Paul Wellens. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
The Cherry and Whites will be motivated by their thrashing last weekend.

St Helens will not be lulled into a full sense of security ahead of Friday’s derby showdown against Wigan Warriors at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

The Cherry and Whites have not been in the best of form lately and were hammered 46-22 by Catalans Dragons during Magic Weekend, but Saints boss Paul Wellens insisted: “Wigan are a quality side but that was a poor result against the French side and they will be very keen to fix that up.”

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Wellens said: “I expect them to really come at us on Friday and try to make amends for the Catalans’ setback. This is also a derby and no extra motivation is needed. Derby games are generally quite tense and close affairs and I don’t expect this one to be any different.

“We have to harness the fact that we have come off the back of a great performance at the Magic Weekend but also know that we need to back it up on Friday because there’s a team coming over the hill who will be very keen to get back on track as well. It is going to be a great occasion and all the players already know the importance of it.”

Wellens also reports a fit and healthy squad, apart from a number of players suffering from bumps and bruises, but acknowledged that one of two of the younger element, who have helped them surmount injury and suspension issues recently, will not be overlooked entirely.

The head coach said:” I’ve got to protect my first choice players, but others will get a chance somewhere else in our structure.”

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His Warriors’ counterpart Matt Peet said: “You never really need to sell these occasions as such – they speak for themselves and I can’t wait for the weekend and the players feel exactly the same. There will be no surprises because we know what is coming.”

He went on: “It’ an exciting fixture regardless of what happened last week. We have a great deal of training to do but we can’t wait to get last weekend’s defeat out of our system and produce a much better performance.”

He concluded: “It’s brilliant that the league table is so tight and unpredictable at this moment in time and it’s exactly what the competition demands. Some teams have more strength in depth than others, but on their day anyone can beat anyone.”

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