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Super League: Salford Red Devils host St Helens at AJ Bell Stadium
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- Beard to be feared
- Noble welcomes 'golden ticket'
- Powell: Dragons must tidy up
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- Saints shut out Red Devils
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- Wigan too strong for Wildcats
- Warrington secure first win
- Bulls see off gritty Broncos
- Brumbies blitz Force in Perth
- Giants fail to repel Vikings
Salford have the opportunity to reach the Super League summit for the first time in their history when they host St Helens on Thursday, live on Sky Sports 1.
Last year's wooden-spoon side are enjoying their best start to a top flight season since 1997; when they won their first five outings under the tutelage of Andy Gregory, yet they remained below Bradford Bulls on points difference.
Brian Noble's Red Devils opened their season with victory over Wakefield Wildcats, before racing to a 44-18 win at London Broncos last Saturday.
Similarly, the Saints' 2014 campaign is in the midst of a victorious start after they beat last year's runners-up Warrington Wolves in their season curtain-raiser before beating Hull FC at Langtree Park last time out.
St Helens have won 29 of the 33 Super League meetings between the clubs, with Salford's last home victory being a 42-34 triumph at The Willows in May 2010.
There have been a raft of changes since Saints' 52-10 victory in the corresponding fixture in June 2013, with Salford owner Marwan Koukash investing heavily, with 14 new signings.
However, Noble will be without prop Darrell Griffin and newcomers Rangi Chase and Junior Sa'u, who are all sidelined through injury.
There is a boost for Salford in the form of Adrian Morley, with the veteran captain back to lead the side after sitting out the win over London.
"We've had a little bit of disruption early on with injuries but we've got a good team going out on Thursday and we want a good performance," Noble said.
St Helens coach Nathan Brown has called up back-rower Mark Flanagan, who has not played since sustaining a major knee injury last April.
However, the Saints boss is expected to keep the team that began the season with back-to-back wins as he prepares to face a strengthened Salford side.
"I think what's happened there has been great for the game," Brown claimed. "This game in particular in the past could have been seen as a standard St Helens win I suppose."
Red Devils: Mullaney, Williams, Gleeson, Sa'u, Meli, Smith, Morley, Lee, Puletua, Hock, Hansen, Fages, Dixon, McPherson, Ashurst, Walton, Johnson, Howarth.
Saints:Lomax, Makinson, Turner, Jones, Swift, Hohaia, Walsh, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Wilkin, Manu, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Amor, Wellens, Walmsley, Percival, Wheeler.
You can follow all the action from the AJ Bell Stadium as the Salford Red Devils take on St Helens live on Sky Sports 1HD from 7:30pm on Thursday.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||21||18|
|10||Salford Red Devils||22||17|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||21||2|
|Saturday 26th July|
|15:00||London Broncos vs Hull K R|
|Sunday 27th July|
|15:00||Bradford vs Wigan|
|15:00||Warrington vs Wakefield|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Catalan Dragons|
|Thursday 31st July|
|20:00||Wigan vs Salford|
|Friday 1st August|
|20:00||Hull vs St Helens|
|20:00||Catalan Dragons vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Bradford|
|Sunday 3rd August|
|15:00||Widnes vs Hull K R|
|15:00||Wakefield vs Huddersfield|
|Friday 25th July|
|Salford 18 - 22 Leeds|
|St Helens 44 - 22 Widnes|
|Thursday 24th July|
|Hull 18 - 18 Castleford|
|Sunday 20th July|
|Hull K R 18 - 38 Salford|
|Huddersfield 52 - 26 Bradford|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Catalan Dragons 40 - 6 Wakefield|
|London Broncos 16 - 58 St Helens|
|Friday 18th July|
|Wigan 56 - 10 Hull|
|Widnes 28 - 14 Warrington|
|Thursday 17th July|
|Leeds 24 - 24 Castleford|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stevo with skysports.com