Depleted Saints ready to tough it out against Wigan

St Helens head into Good Friday’s game against Wigan with a number of key players missing.

Stand-off Travis Burns is sidelined with several facial injuries, including a triple fracture of the cheekbone, that he sustained in last week’s defeat to Hull KR.

Forward Atelea Vea will also miss the game, having suffered a shoulder injury against Hull KR. He is likely to be sidelined for several months.

Full-back Jonny Lomax looks set to miss nine months, and will undergo exploratory surgery soon to assess how damaged his injured knee is.

James Roby, Paul Wellens and Joe Greenwood are also set to undergo fitness tests this week, to see if they are able to play against Wigan.

Atelea Vea won’t play,” Saints coach Keiron Cunningham confirmed.

“He picked up a shoulder injury at the back end of the game [against Hull KR], so we’re just waiting to find out the severity of that.

James Roby got concussion, so we’re just going to see where he goes with the criteria of the concussion.

Travis Burns got a bit of a bang on the face, and he’s going to see the specialist.”

Cunningham knows that the Wigan derby will be a testing game for his depleted squad.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” he added.

“It’ll be really entertaining and really physical, as all Saints – Wigan games are.

“There’s a lot of physicality about it, but once the heat and the sting is took out of the first 10 minutes of the game, it goes down to some really skilful rugby.

“The two points is just as important as the two points that we’ve just lost at the weekend.

“We want to do our best to get the two points, and I’m sure Wigan will be striving for the same result as we are.

“Generally you get what you deserve in rugby league, and whoever deserves it the most will definitely get them.”

Meanwhile, Cunningham was also keen to put last week’s defeat to Hull KR behind his team.

The Saints’ first Super League defeat of the season was going to happen at some stage of the season, after all.

“It was always going to happen at some point,” he said.

“I’m not going to say I was pleased with the loss, I wanted the two points.

“But I was pleased with resilience of the players, and hanging in there and trying to get the game until the death.

“We were quite close to sneaking a point in the end.

“I thought we were a little bit dumb at times with what we did in attack.

“Down their end of the field, we had a lot of possession, and, generally, we’d come away with a lot more points in a game than we did, and we should have.

“We should have been quite comfortable by half-time, but you get those games sometimes.

“I’m not going to whinge about, it was just unfortunate, hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”

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