MIKE Rush maintains there still is everything to play for as Saints face up to their final match of the Stobart Super League season.
His side travel to Wigan tomorrow with third spot still up for grabs whilst the Warriors have secured top spot.
And results depending, both sides could meet yet again at the same venue next week.
“The next couple of weeks are big for us and playing them just before we head into the playoffs is a little strange,” Rush said. “But this is how the fixture list is and we need the two points to finish third. That is our target.
“Yes, it could be a ‘non-fixture’ if we weren’t doing that but we’re going full out to win it. If Wigan needed to win it then it would be a big match and we wouldn’t have this conversation. I suppose this is the way the fixtures fall. At the end of the day though we still have something to play for and the players need to understand that. It is in our own hands because in the end in any league competition you want to finish as high as you can.”
Saints head into Friday’s game without a win against Wigan in three matches this season and Rush admits there’s a lot to do.
“We need to defend better than at Magic Weekend for sure,” he added. “That was not good enough for this club. It will be a tough hard match and we have to make sure we don’t cross the line and leave ourselves short in the playoffs.
“It would be big for me to coach the side to a win over Wigan because you always want to put one over your local rivals. But I have to stress this is about the players finishing as high up the table as they can. From where we were when Keiron and I took over; to finish third would be a great return.
“Of course, I want to make sure we don’t look back on the season with any regrets. The coaching team has to plan in fine detail and control the things we have on our desks. If we do that then we can look back.
“We have gone from ninth to third but there are a few performances we weren’t proud of. Overall you have to be happy that you’ve made that progression and nilled a few teams too.
“Every team in the comp has been well beaten by another this season.”
Saints expect to welcome Michael Shenton back into the line-up after he missed the last two weeks through injury.
Chris Flannery has an ankle knock and will be out for a week whilst Rush has indicated he won’t play players if they have bumps and bruises that “could go long term” if they take another bash on Friday.
“Ade Gardner only played 50 minutes in the 20s at the weekend so he won’t be ready this week,” Rush continued. “Tommy Makinson and Francis Meli are playing well so it will be difficult to change that around.”
Tickets for Friday’s match at the DW Stadium are still on sale. You can buy from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or via www.saintssuperstore.com
The Red Vee Cafe Bar won’t be open for the match as there are two functions pre-booked in the venue.