SAINTS skipper James Roby has the World Club Challenge clash with Sydney Roosters as his focus as he continues his recovery from groin surgery.

Roby, who endured groin trouble for much of last season, will miss the Super League opener against Grand Final runners-up Salford on January 31 after needing further surgery before Christmas.

Saints have further games  - away at Warrington and Hull before then - and 34-year-old hooker is relishing the opportinity to win another World Club Challenge, something he last won in 2007.

He said: "What a great opportunity it is for us to call ourselves world champions and, for me as captain I'd love nothing more than to get back for that game.

"It's progressing well, as expected. I'll increase accordingly and see where we are. I'll probably miss the first game but should be alright after that."

Roby missed a good chunk of last season, but returned for the last six games - and Saints' march to the title.

"I struggled all year really with the groin injury," he said. "I think it affected my performances.

"I had surgery but it didn't really help. I had further surgery and now it actually feels like it's done the job."

The injury robbed Roby of a chance to add to his Great Britain caps but he has not ruled out making a return with England, who play Australia for the Ashes at the end of the season.

"If I'm picked on merit, I don't think I would ever turn down the chance because it might be my last chance," he said.

"I'm 35 at the end of this year. My priority is St Helens and, if that comes at the end of the year, it would be a massive bonus."

Saints will also be without winger Tommy Makinson for the start of the season after he underwent surgery for the shoulder he dislocated in the Grand Final but new coach Kristian Woolf expects him to be fit to face the Roosters.

"Tommy is going to need to see a doctor and get cleared to do some contact," Woolf said.

"Once he's cleared to do that, we will accelerate it fairly quickly and we'll get a better idea on when he'll be back."