SAINTS’ new coaching staff will have a baptism of fire when they head to Wigan for the traditional Good Friday game.
It is a fixture that seems to have become increasingly hard for Saints to win - even though they have no such problems with the Warriors any other time of the year.
The last time Saints triumphed in the Easter fixture was under Mick Potter on April 2009 when they won 19-12 in front of 22,232.
Seven bitterly disappointing Easters have followed.
And although Wigan have been through a sticky patch of late, they welcome back a host of previously injured stars.
But this is a big one for Saints to get up for - and the players will be doing their best to atone for their performances that have contributed to coach Keiron Cunningham getting the push.
Saints stand-in coach Jamahl Lolesi does not reckon the team will be short of motivation for this one.
He said: “I have been here four or five years and not seen Saints not turn up for a Wigan game.
“I’d prefer to have a tough game than an easy one so Wigan on Good Friday and Cas on Monday might come at a good time for us over Easter.
“They don’t get any harder than that so it is a good test for the squad and for the players at the club and we get to see who wants to stand up and fight for the badge that they are wearing on Friday.
“I wouldn’t think they need any motivation for the game.
“They have always been good tussles.”
There will be no drastic changes for the game, but there is a chance that Saints may tweak their back row after a few malfunctions on the right edge this past couple of weeks.
Luke Thompson comes back into the squad after recovering from a broken thumb, and, speculating, he or Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook could give Saints an extra option in the middle as a ball carrying 13 and allow skipper Jon Wilkin to go back into the second row.
Lolesi did not spell out any likely changes but he said: “Our role is to make sure the players understand their roles and we give them a nice gameplan to go and get the win.
He continued: “It is quite hard to change this things in a week. It’s unfair to say you can come in and play a totally different style. Changes like that don’t happen in a week.
“Myself, Sean and Derek Traynor are there to make sure they are focused on the game coming up.
“We have done a simple gameplan to make sure there is no confusion and that the players know exactly what they doing which we can go out and try and execute the best we can.
“It will be tough to tear things up and start from scratch this week, but we have tried to change a few things to make sure the boys get a bit more momentum out of the back end of the field to get us up the other end and score some points.”
The game sees a number of interesting aspects.
It will be Matty Smith’s first game back at the DW Stadium since his move from Wigan to Saints.
He is still finding match fitness after his pre-season broken leg.
Seeing how Michael McIlorum shapes up after his long lay-off, going back to February 2016, will also be a factor as he always fires them up.
Wigan also welcome back Sean O’Loughlin who traditionally picks Good Friday to play well and Joe Burgess and Anthony Gelling coming back in.
Last time out enforcer Frank-Paul Nuuausala also showed his feisty side and will no doubt renew his tussle with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Nimble-footed George Williams signing of a new deal will have also given the Warrios a pre-match tonic.
The game kicks off at 12.15pm.
The 19-man squads.
Saints: 1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Alex Walmsley, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Adam Walker, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Tommy Lee, 19. Greg Richards, 20. Morgan Knowles, 28. Regan Grace, 36. Zeb Taia.
Wigan: 3. Anthony Gelling, 5. Joe Burgess, 6. George Williams, 7. Thomas Leuluai, 8. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 9. Michael McIlorum, 10. Ben Flower, 11. Joel Tomkins, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean O’Loughlin, 16. Sam Powell, 17. Taulima Tautai, 19. Ryan Sutton, 20. Willie Isa, 22. Morgan Escare, 24. Joseph Bretherton, 32. Liam Forsyth, 35. Liam Marshall, 36. Thomas Davies.