IT has been sold out for weeks and social media is awash with appeals for tickets – it can only be the Saints v Wigan Good Friday fixture.

Given its position on the calendar it is a game that can make or break Easter for thousands of fans either side of the Billinge divide.

But Friday’s game at the Totally Wicked Stadium, 3pm kick off, has plenty more significance riding on it beyond traditional local rivalry.

Defending champions Wigan come to town unbeaten and top of Super League, with a game in hand – and with a bubble that has been inflated from Grand Final and World Club Challenge success.

Saints will be confident of pricking that after back-to-back wins in Leeds, but they will need to pull out an altogether stronger and sharper pin from their armoury to do so.

It promises to be a bouncing atmosphere and one coach Paul Wellens knows only too well the significance of.

Wellens said: “We don’t need to over-hype this fixture. It’s Saints v Wigan on Good Friday and it sells itself.

“It’s been sold out a long time, and there’s plenty more who would like to come who can’t get tickets and that doesn’t happen a lot in rugby league – but it certainly happens for this fixture.

“That is a clear sign of how big this game is.

“Coaches, players and fans have both clubs can’t wait for it.

“It is one fixture that you put a circle around at the start of every year and we are excited about facing the challenge of facing a strong Wigan side.

“We are two teams in recent history that have had a lot of success – and part of achieving that is understanding how to handle big games, how to handle big moments and channel that your emotions in the right way.”

This is Wellens’ second Good Friday as a head coach, but he had a wealth of experience of this fixture as a player featuring in 14 from 2000.

He said: “This is THE game in British rugby league – we have Grand Finals and Challenge Cup Finals as showpiece occasions, but next after that is Saints v Wigan on Good Friday.

“It’s the game everyone wants to watch – and that will be the same on both sides of the rugby league world.

“I have had the pleasure to play in a number of them, but to now lead the team as coach is a huge honour and privilege because I know how much the fixture means to everyone.”

That view is echoed by Jonny Lomax, who will be leading the team out as captain for the first time on a Good Friday.

“The history of the fixture gives an added spice and incentive,” he said.

“It is going to be a proud moment for me to walk the team out – just as it is any time I take the field in these games.

“Being a Saints supporter when I was younger it means and awful lot to me and my family.

“I was brought up on it – and being from Billinge, slap bang in the middle, there was always bragging rights in the village depending how the result goes.”