Super League: St Helens v Huddersfield Giants preview
St Helens could return to the Super League summit when they host Huddersfield Giants at Langtree Park on Friday.
Last Updated: 23/05/14 8:36am
Despite suffering Magic Weekend defeat to Warrington Wolves, Saints remain just one point behind league leaders Leeds, who themselves lost to Wigan Warriors at the Etihad Stadium.
Victory for Saints could see them snatch top spot should the Rhinos suffer back-to-back defeats when they take on Hull FC at Headingley Carnegie, also on Friday evening.
Meanwhile, 2013 League Leaders' Shield winners Huddersfield moved up to fifth with a 54-16 Magic Weekend success against Bradford Bulls, extending their winning run to five matches.
The previous meeting between the sides came in the fourth round of the Tetley's Challenge Cup when a controversial last-gasp Luke Walsh drop-goal sealed victory for the Saints against a 12-man Huddersfield side.
Prior to their Magic Weekend reverse, Saints claimed successive victories against struggling Bradford Bulls and London Broncos, scoring 48 and 50 in the respective matches, but the arrival of the Giants will prove a much sterner test.
"St Helens started very well this season to be fair but they have taken a little dip recently," Giants half-back Luke Robinson told their official website.
"I think after their game at the weekend their senior pros and coach sounded pretty dejected so I'm sure they will come out all guns blazing.
"These are the games we want to test ourselves in and obviously for our league position too."
The slide which Robinson eludes to - winning just three of their last five matches after going nine games unbeaten in all competitions - is something Saints coach Nathan Brown is eager to reverse.
"I know the fans here like to win trophies and are used to winning in the Super League era," he told the club's official website.
"There are a lot of positive things happening, we've had our fair share of things to go against us and the guys have put the club in a good spot.
"We haven't had a lot of luck with stability in our team either so if you take all that into account then it isn't too bad."
St Helens captain Paul Wellens is set for more game time following the loss of Jonny Lomax with a knee injury, sharing the stand-off and full-back roles with Lance Hohaia.
Gary Wheeler comes in for his first appearance for a month following the loss of centre Josh Jones and Brown also hands recalls to Mark Flanagan and Greg Richards.
Youngsters Jordan Hand and James Tilley are also added to the 19-man squad, with prop Alex Walmsley ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, Huddersfield bring back winger Jermaine McGillvary after he missed the Magic Weekend clash with Bradford with an ankle injury.
McGillvary takes over from Jodie Broughton after he aggravated a groin injury, in the only change to the side that beat the Bulls. Second row Brett Ferres makes his 200th Super League appearance.
Saints: Makinson, Turner, Hohaia, Walsh, Masoe, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Wilkin, Flanagan, Wellens, Greenwood, Wheeler, Walker, Dawson, Richards, Thompson, Hand, Tilley
Giants: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Robinson, Crabtree, Lunt, Kopczak, Ferres, Chan, Bailey, Lawrence, Patrick, Faiumu, Ta'ai, Wood, Mullally
You can watch St Helens take on Huddersfield live on Sky Sports 3HD from 7:30pm