THE last time Saints met Wigan their opponents fielded a youthful side and Kristian Woolf’s men registered a comfortable 42-0 win.

They meet again on Friday for potentially the season's most mouthwatering fixture so far.

“It’s going to be a very different game, that’s for sure,” said Woolf.

“I think you’ll see both teams at relatively full strength and a high quality game of footy with a lot of passion because it is a derby.

"It’s a game that everyone can really look forward to and I know the players are really looking forward to it.

“It gives us a look at where we’re at, it gives us a look at where one of our main competitors are at.

“It’s the sort of game you want coming into the back end of the year.

“If we think that we want to play in finals and be able to do something in finals then these are the exact sort of games you want leading into that.”

A win would also see Saints put one hand on the League Leaders’ Shield for a third consecutive year, opening up a four-point gap and an increased win percentage.

“We haven’t spoken about that at all,” said Woolf.

“We’d love to do that, as everyone would, but we do have a real focus just on this weekend.

“It’s our first real challenge like this for a couple of weeks and we want to make sure we take these challenges on, play well, and we want to win these challenges.

“The fact that it’s a derby as well just brings that little bit more excitement and incentive.”