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Super League match preview: St Helens v Catalan Dragons
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St Helens and Catalan Dragons will be looking to put disappointing Easter periods behind them when they clash in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Langtree Park on Friday night.
Saints have experienced a difficult start under new coach Nathan Brown, with a host of senior players missing games through injury, and they are out of Super League's top four after losing two of their three matches over Easter.
French side Catalan also come into the match in indifferent form having suffered back-to-back defeats to Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC and currently occupy seventh place, one below the Saints.
New Zealand international Lance Hohaia remains confident St Helens can still mount a title challenge and believes that, with the progress of the club's plethora of promising youngsters, the future looks rosy.
"We're still a work in progress," he said. "We've had a lot of key players out for the last three or four weeks and the young guys who have come in have done really well.
"To be sitting fourth equal after Easter is not a bad place to be. I think we've used 30 players already, whereas last year we only used 28 all season.
"There's a great development programme at the Saints and the kids know what it takes to be premier league side players."
Carl Forster is drafted into the Saints line-up in the only squad change from last week's 22-14 defeat at Hull KR - replacing the injured Mark Flanagan.
The visiting Dragons will be without forward Olivier Elima for the trip to Langtree Park after the 29-year-old suffered a rupture to a biceps tendon last week.
The France captain, who has left the team's Manchester training camp, joins Scott Dureau and Brent Webb on the Perpignan outfit's long-term injury list.
But Catalan are boosted by the return of half-back Thomas Bosc, winger Damien Blanch and centre Daryl Millard, who all missed the defeat at Hull through injury.
St Helens: Wellens, Turner, Soliola, Meli, Hohaia, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wilkin, Laffranchi, Clough, Jones, Makinson, Forster, Ashe, Greenwood, Walmsley, Swift, Percival, Tilley, Howarth.
Catalan Dragons: Blanch, Pryce, Taia, Bosc, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Anderson, Mounis, Barthau, Pelissier, Larroyer, Millard, Simon, Fakir, Paea, Baitieri, Vaccari, Escarç.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
|First Utility Super League|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalans Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalans Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalans Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
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