St Helens’ Paul Wellens provides injury update on trio ahead of Wigan Warriors derby

Drew Darbyshire
Tommy Makinson, Lewis Dodd, Morgan Knowles St Helens Alamy

Tommy Makinson (left), Lewis Dodd (centre) and Morgan Knowles (right) in action for St Helens

St Helens coach Paul Wellens has provided an injury update on three of his players ahead of their Good Friday derby with Wigan Warriors.

Winger Makinson has missed Saints‘ last two games with back issue, whilst half-back Lewis Dodd didn’t feature in their Challenge Cup sixth round win at Leeds Rhinos last Friday due to a groin injury.

Meanwhile, mainstay forward Morgan Knowles took a knock to his hand at Headingley last week – but Wellens is hopeful he’ll be okay for Friday’s derby against Wigan.

Speaking to Love Rugby League at the joint media event at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Monday afternoon, Wellens provided the latest on the trio.

“Our main training day is Tuesday afternoon, so Tommy will train in that, as will Lewis Dodd, Morgan Knowles and Mark Percival who is returning (from suspension),” Wellens said.

“We’ve got a number of guys coming back into contention or aiming to prove their fitness going into the game.

“I’ve got some strong and smart decisions to make because ultimately I’ve got a big and talented squad, but obviously everybody can’t play can they? There are some tough decisions to be made.”

DISCIPLINARY: St Helens lose key man for Wigan Warriors derby as three players suspended by RFL

Paul Wellens: We won’t take unnecessary risks

Wellens says none of the injuries are long-term – all of them are minor – but insists they must pass all the relevant fitness tests to play in the Good Friday derby, with the club not wanting to risk the players worsening their injuries.

“There’s no long-term things there, it’s just about us being smart and just making sure that if players are fit to play that we’re not taking unnecessary risks and that’s what I mean about not just making strong decisions, but smart decisions as well.

“There can be a temptation (to play them) given the enormity of this game, that we just chance things or just see how they are but what we’ve got to do is think about the bigger picture as well.. Not playing players that aren’t fully fit and risk damaging them for three, four or five weeks. We need to look after our players and whatever 17 takes the field I want to be fit, fresh and healthy.”

READ NEXT: Wigan Warriors duo back in contention for St Helens derby, says Matt Peet