SAINTS boss Kristian Woolf was left under no illusions what is expected of him as soon as he took the helm.

Beating Wigan in rugby league's most historic and famous derby is a staple demand of supporters.

And he will get chance to deliver tonight (7.45pm) when the two teams meet for the the first time this year at Salford's AJ Bell Stadium.

Woolf said: "Once I stepped foot in town the fans made me really aware that this was the game that they expected us to win and that this was the one that meant most to them.

"That was made pretty clear straight away.

"I always knew it was a big game - but since getting here I have realised a bit more the importance of it and the rivalry."

READ: Woolf Q&A>

The game had initially been lined up as a spectator pilot fixture, to be held at the DW Stadium.

But that was scuppered when extra measures were brought in to tackle the rising rate of Covid.

It means that the derby will lack its familiar loud and raucous soundtrack, with the contest happening purely on the pitch and doing without the sing-off on the terraces.

Woolf regretted the absence of fans, but accepts that is one the sacrifices that are having to be made to keep the show on the road.

"The crowd at this game was something I was really looking forward to because it is something I had heard a lot about, the atmosphere and the singing is a great part of Super League and the culture over here," he said.

"It will certainly be missed. I am sure even a thousand people could have generated some atmosphere and noise and it would have been great for the players to have that back in the game.

"Everyone has got used to this - it has not affected the quality or intensity of the games so it won't change the spectacle - just the atmosphere.

"From that point of view it is disappointing, but we are happy to do whatever we can do to keep games going."