The former Wigan and Great Britain scrum-half believes Saints are no longer the force they once were and feels his home town club are perfectly placed to emerge from the shadow of their arch-rivals at GPW Recruitment Stadium on Good Friday.
Gregory was a key member of the all-conquering Wigan team that dominated Rugby League throughout much of the Eighties and early-Nineties and can see many parallels between that side and the Class of 2010.
“There was a big local flavour to the Wigan team back then and many of the stars of this Wigan team are local lads who will not need motivating for the derby,” said Gregory.
“On the 1992 Lions tour there were eight players from Wigan St Pats who have also produced the likes of Sam and Joel Tomkins and Sean O’Loughlin.
“It’s good to see those local lads playing in cherry and white and it’s good to see Wigan flying high at the top of Super League where they belong.
“Apart from the blip at Bradford, it’s been a great start to the season and the new coach Michael Maguire has got them playing well. I don’t know much about him but it’s obvious he’s a good coach and someone who doesn’t have favourites.
“That’s good and is just what you need to bring success to a club.”
Gregory turned down the chance to sign for Saints as a youngster, rejecting Alex Murphy’s overtures to cross the great divide between the two towns, but has always held St Helens in high regard.
“Saints are a great club who have enjoyed a lot of success in the Super League era but it’s hard to escape the suspicion that they’re not the side they were,” he said.
“There are a couple of St Helens players who have been absolutely tremendous throughout their careers but, as with every Rugby League player, playing at the top level for so long catches up with you.
“That’s not the case with Wigan, they’re very much a team with a great future rather than a great past.
“No-one at Wigan is going to be basking in past glories because a lot of the players were just bits of kids when we were great.
“They have a great squad now, I have no doubt they’ll be up there competing for major honours at the end of the season and a derby win next week will go a long way to showing how ambitious they are.”
A limited number of tickets for the St Helens-Wigan derby at GPW Recruitment Stadium are still available and can be purchased by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01744 455050 or by visiting www.saintssuperstore.com. The game is also live on Sky Sports HD1 on Good Friday, kick off 3.00pm.