SAINTS fans have not been backward in expressing their feelings after the team suffered surprise back-to-back defeats by Leigh and Wakefield.
The rumblings of discontent were audible in the booing at the end of the game and that has carried on all week in chatter around town and on social media posts.
Although it is early days, the results leave Saints in the bottom four after three matches with a tough March fixture card ahead involving away games against Hull and Catalans and home clash with Warrington.
Having hammered home the importance of a good start to the campaign after last year’s opening hung over the club, two losses against the league’s less fancied sides were not on the agenda.
A significant body of the club’s support is already calling for changes at the top, but Cunningham is backing his coaching staff and players to pick themselves up from this early setback.
He said: “I have a good squad here – far better than last year but there is a tendency for the reaction to be a bit knee-jerk out there.
“We have just got to have faith, stick together and fight hard for each other.
“I am aware of what is being said (Cunningham out calls) – but who is going to come in?
“And are they going to come in with a magic wand to make Matty’s leg better and improve Jonny’s knee?
“We have got a good group of players with a hard-working coaching team.
“We are united and we have been for a long while.
“We hit a tough patch in the middle of last year and came though it.
“This situation is nothing like that. We are not far off getting Matty back.
“I said all along that it would be tough with Matty out, but once we get him back it will be different.
“But we have got a few more games to go yet and so have to find a way in the next few weeks to battle hard and work for each other.
“We have lost a couple of games, but we are a really confident squad and we have just got to get ourselves firing again,” Cunningham said.
After praising the fans for turning out in their thousands at Leigh and then braving the atrocious conditions against Wakefield he asked them for patience, citing the injury to key signing Smith has being the biggest factor in knocking the team off course.
He said: “I did not plan on Matty getting his leg broken.
“We were flying in pre-season with him running around as the lead half.
“But at the minute we have two key men who are not featuring in Matty Smith and Jonny Lomax, and then two young halves who are learning and getting better.
“Everyone was constantly tapping me on the shoulder last year saying get Danny Richardson in the team because he was doing exceptionally well.
“But now we have got him in the team people are going to have to be patient.
“We would love to be sat on six points, but we have got a long season ahead of us.
“Matty will be back soon enough and we get Jonny back, but in the short term we have to get the halves understanding a bit more but that is all part of learning and education.
"Sometimes you don’t understand what game management is until you go through certain situations.
"On Friday we got out to 12-10 and the good lead halves would bring that game home for you, but we looked a bit erratic, panicky with no composure and we did not kick the ball well and then we ended up losing."
Saints had started the year with a narrow win over Leeds, but a shocking first half at Leigh put the skids under them and they needed to post a response at home to a Wakefield side that had not won since July.
But in the torrential rain, poor ball control and a shrewd kicking game from Trinity's Jacob Miller and Sam Williams meant Saints made little headway in the first half.
And although new recruit Zeb Taia's appearance off the bench lifted the team in the second half, it was altogether too patchy a display.
And it left Cunningham with one major selection headache.
Speaking before naming his 19-man squad for Hull, which does not include youngster Richardson, you could hear the thought process taking place; persevere with two young halves or drop in an old head in an attempt to stop the run of losses accumulating?
"We have got a really big month ahead of us,” he said.
"Every game that Danny (Richardson) or Theo (Fages) pull a Saints shirt on the better it will be for them, but we have to understand that we have got to win some games.
"As good as the learning is we are in the results based industry and we can’t just sit there waiting for people to come back.
"I said all along that it would be tough with Matty out, but once we get him back it will be different. But we have got a few more games to go yet and so have to find a way in the next few weeks to battle hard and work for each other," he said.
"Theo is still only very young kid; it took Matty Smith until he was 26 -27 to find that lead half spot and to be as good as he is.
"Theo is still a young kid, he will make mistakes, get poor kicks away and wrong decisions – as will Danny.
"All that maturity does in narrow the margin and make the consistency a little bit better.
"We will get them there, but we just need the big men to work a little bit harder around them and I don’t think we got that on Friday, especially in the first half.
"Our starting big men were not as good as they should have been, but the support act was good."