SAINTS’ new coach Justin Holbrook is expected to arrive on Thursday or Friday, but he will not take charge of the team until the following week.
He has, however, instructed the coaching staff to stick with the same team for Saturday’s Magic weekend fixture – and with the new boss’s eyes upon them the players will be playing to keep their places.
Saints, who face Hull at the weekend’s two-day jamboree at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park, will try and pick themselves up from their dismal Challenge Cup exit.
With that game followed by a home encounter against Wigan and then trips to Huddersfield and Castleford, the next four weeks will make it crystal clear what Saints are battling for in the remainder of the campaign.
Across the board – players, supporters and coaching staff – will greet the arrival of the 41-year-old Australian Holbrook with anticipation and no little relief.
Although there will be plenty of focus on what the team needs in the medium and long term, the first function of the new regime will be to try and restore some confidence to a team that has gone into a downward spiral from an already low base.
Interim coach Sean Long, who with Jamahl Lolesi will resume assistant duties on Holbrook’s arrival, said: “I spoke to Justin and he said just keep things ticking over, get the boys coming to training enjoying it, have a bit of belief and he told us to stick with the same team until he gets over here.
“He will be here Thursday or Friday. He will be sitting back and watching, but this is an added incentive for the boys to play well.
“They are playing for their jerseys because next week, Justin will pick the side and will take it from there.
“The boys need a bit of a lift and a new coach coming in, with fresh ideas and a new pair of eyes, will give them a bit of a boost.”