SAINTS expect new signing Ben Barba to link up with the side within the next week or so and coach Justin Holbrook is still hopeful that they can find grounds to appeal the 12-game ban handed out in the NRL.

Barba’s arrival will intensify the competition for spots —raising a question over the future position of England full back Jonny Lomax.

Lomax returned from an eight-week lay off at Castleford and slotted in at stand off.

And Holbrook stressed that Barba’s arrival did not mean a case of two into one won’t go - stating both players are versatile.

Holbrook said: “When you have great players you can find positions for them.

“The luxury with Jonny is that he came through in the halves, as did Ben Barba.

“That is the beauty of having natural footballers who can play in a number of positions.

“It is not like they can both only play one and two doesn’t go into one.

“There is room for both of them. Not sure how it will pan out, we have just got to get them both available and playing at the same time and then I will worry about that.”

Holbrook was happy with Lomax’s return and said he would get better with game time after such a long absence.

With Theo Fages returning this week it could be that Lomax returns to full back and one of the wings make way for Tommy Makinson - but there are other options too.

“The main thing for us was getting Jonny back in there and he will be better for the run,” Holbrook said.

“He will get better with each week he plays and did a good job for us on Sunday.

“He has got the luxury in the fact that he came through in the halves and can not only play full back, but could play centre or wing if he had to.

“He can do a good job wherever he plays for us.”

With regards to Barba, Holbrook was hopeful of seeing him in the red vee before late August when the ban is due to expire - and said that would be good for the competition as a whole.

Holbrook said: “I am hopeful they have some grounds for appeal.

“It would be great to have him sooner rather than later for us as a club and for the comp as a whole.

“Everyone will be excited to see a player like that player, so the sooner the better.”

In the short term, Theo Fages return already means one tough call, but it is a position he welcomes.

“It is a tough call but it is a good position to be in.

“Someone who has been playing really well will have to miss out.

“We have played a lot of games, even if we didn’t have the two games over the Bank Holiday.

“We have the luxury of giving someone a rest – it is not a case of dropping them, more a case of a rotation,” he said.