Youth To Shine

ROYCE Simmons says he will give youth another chance when Saints take on Salford on Friday.

Scott Hale is set to gain more game time off the bench whilst Danny Jones and Carl Forster have been called into the 19-man squad for experience.

The likes of Andrew Dixon and Matty Ashurst will also be heavily involved.

“The weekend off has given us an opportunity to get some players back from injury,” Simmons said. “Had we played last week it would have been very hard to put a side on the park.

“Therefore, this week the side picks itself, but I am looking at it from a different angle and it will give some of the blokes an opportunity to play some good game time.

“With a lot of the senior blokes missing this week it is a great opportunity for these lads to get rewarded for their hard work and dedication. I have no doubt that they will bring all the energy in the world into the side.

“The likes of Andrew Dixon will get a start in the 13 and Matty Ashurst will come off the bench as will Scotty Hale. They have played a few first grade games for the club and have always done a good job – but they have been sitting behind Jon Wilkin, Sia, TP and Chris Flannery this year, so have only had half a game here and there this year.

“They are getting rewarded for their persistence, hard work and professionalism. They are super young pros who haven’t been getting as much time as you would like to give them.

“Scott made his debut earlier in the year when we took a pretty battered side over to Huddersfield. It was not the easiest debut to make when you are thrown on after 20 minutes against a really big side.

“Scott Moore will get a chance to start too at 13. Robes hasn’t missed too many games at 9 and TP has been playing there too. Tommy Makinson also returns from injury. This is a good opportunity for our young blokes to get some footy to press hard for selection in the squad for the play-offs.”

On the injury front James Graham will return after missing the Hull KR game with a dead leg but Kyle Eastmond (groin), Tony Puletua (shoulder) and Chris Flannery (knee cartilage) are out.

Ade Gardner is progressing well from an Achilles problem too and the club will give him every chance to return before the end of the season.

He continues: “Friday will be a tough match. Salford have played with plenty of enthusiasm since Matt Parish came in and put his foot down with some of the players.

“The players have responded by bringing a fair bit of energy to the football field. If you look at their side on paper it is a good side with some strike power. Although they now can’t make the eight, they are doing the basics really well. They have also got nothing to lose.

“We won’t be the biggest side on Friday so we will have to do things quickly. Our defensive line has to get them, rather than them getting at us.

“Attack wise we have to move the ball quickly and be snappy and sharp to overcome what will be a bigger side than us this week. We will have to overcome it by running some angles and plenty of speed and energy in everything we do.

“These young blokes have been waiting for an opportunity and here it is for them. I have all the confidence in the world in them.”

Tickets for the match which kicks off at 8pm are still on sale from the Saints Superstore in St Helens Town Centre, by calling 01744 455 052 or online.

They will also be sold at the Stobart Stadium Ticket Office from about 5.30pm.

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