JUSTIN Holbrook gave his thoughts to the Star’s Mike Critchley in Wigan week.

MC: A great win at Hull and some fantastic rugby?

JH: Yes, to back it up after a tough game against Warrington, and play as well as we did was outstanding and was a credit to the playing group.

MC: And another strong display from James Bentley at nine? He certainly gives you food for thought for a bench spot when Robes returns, should he need spelling?

JH: It is a credit to Bentos how well he has done. He is a really competitive guy and the way he has grabbed his opportunity to say I want to be in this side. He is just trying so hard and getting through so much work. We are really happy for him and it puts him in a good position to hang on to a bench spot.

St Helens Star:

MC: Another solid performance from an unsung Kyle Amor?

JH: Kyle came up with some special plays - getting back defusing kicks and passing balls - he is going well for us.

MC: Has Lachlan Coote recovered from Kyle cleaning him out fielding that kick?

JH: I said a ‘great effort from Kyle to get back 20 metres to defuse it but had he left it to Cootey, he would have probably scored’. It’s the sort of back-handed compliment he usually cops from me.

MC: Any issue with the challenge on Regan Grace after the try?

JH: The more camera angles, there may have been more coming up...but it was not good to watch. Again poor Reegs scores tries and gets whacked for his troubles.

St Helens Star:

MC: Wigan will come with confidence after a five-game winning run?

JH: We expected it to be honest. The side that they have got they were not going to sit down there for too long. They have come good of late and are playing with confidence so we have to make sure we continue to play well on Friday.

MC: Last year after winning the first two and losing the last one, you expressed surprise how much they really wanted to avoid the whitewash. So no surprise this time?

JH: Last year we had won twice and thought ‘let’s go and beat them again’. But they were hurting from those losses and came at us hard, we’ve got to expect that this week and be ready for it.

MC: Do you expect to have to play these before the year is out?

JH: They are a good side, who will be there or thereabouts, as to whether we will play them again I am not sure. They are a very good side, that is for sure.

MC: No TV so a chance for an even bigger crowd?

MC: It will be an electric atmosphere on Friday - there will be no doubts about that. It will be a cracking game.

MC: You have a good win ratio against Wigan?

JH: Yes, but we are only one slip away from them getting the bragging rights and we don’t want that to happen.

We know it means so much to so many people in the town and I like that responsibility and the fact that if we win on Friday it makes everyone’s week a better one.

It is really important for us to make that happen.

St Helens Star:

MC: This is the third of a run of fixtures against the top four - so far so good?

JH: We have had a tough run of games and it will be tougher again on Friday.

Credit to the playing group they keep getting themselves up and they have to do it again on Friday night.

MC: What is the plan with James Roby ahead of Friday?

JH: We will wait till Thursday. We have played really well without him but we are a much better side with him, so if he can get through the rest of the week with no issue we will play him.

If he pulls up sore then there is no point playing him in the big scheme of things.

I do want him to play and he does want to play, but he needs to get through the next two sessions.

St Helens Star:

MC: In the time you have been here what feeling have you picked up from the fans about this fixture?

JH: The biggest comment I hear is "It doesn't matter what happens this year, just beat Wigan!"

And I think that can't be true - but in some sense I think it it is! It is a big statement but it shows how powerful this match is for so many people.

MC: In terms of injury what is the update on Joseph Paulo?

JH: He has strained his calf and it could only be one week with a bit a luck, but a maximum of two.

MC: How far is Zeb Taia off?

JH: He is still a few weeks off - and we won't know for a few weeks yet, but the original plan is that it would be nice to get him back for Wakefield after the semi final.

St Helens Star:

MC: As you survey the table and see how strong a position you are in, is there a point where you have to simply focus on what you need to do to win the four games that now really matter or do you simply have to keep on doing what you are doing, week to week?

JH: It is hard to answer. The big games are always in the back of your mind but you can’t take your eye off the ball from week to week because there are fine margins in all games.

All we can do is put everything into this week’s game and then get the to chance on Saturday or Monday to re-assess for next week.

For this week, we are just going to keep going.

MC: Jonny has been your skipper in Robes’ absence and he has really taken it up a notch.

JH: He has been a leader in his own right for a while now and in particular this year, the way he is not only playing individually bit his contribution to our team game has been phenomenal.

The way I have seen him, Theo and Lachlan combining is as good as I have seen three guys come together as a spine and they are threats every time they have got the ball.

We are only getting better in that area and it is a joy to watch.

St Helens Star:

MC: Individually, his vision and the way he has been taking on and breaking the line has been a revelation - traits of a quality half back.

JH: He is great no matter where he plays and is a good student of the game and does a lot of homework himself.

He is great to have on the field and this year on the field - in the time I have been here - I have seen a real air of determination in him ever since he came back from pre-season. That has transpired from Round One onwards and he is playing great every week.