JON Wilkin has guaranteed that Saints will ‘rip into’ Wigan when the two sides meet on Monday.
The utility back says the team owes the fans a performance and in return that will create an intimidating atmosphere.
“The Wigan game is big and is as big as they get for me,” he said. “The week’s build up is special. When you bump into people they mention it and the press build it up too. The fans will turn up and just want us to win. They won’t be worried about league position or where we are at the end of the season. It’s about the game and I think the timing is right for us to come into this match.
“We need to reconnect the players to the fans and the ground. I thought we’d done that when we beat Leeds here last year. It was buzzing that night. We will bring the intensity on Monday and hope that is picked up by the fans and they make it intimidating.
“We owe the fans a big performance. The support away at Castleford was superb but the week before some of the fans were leaving early when we played Hull KR. I’ve never experienced that before. We have a bond between each other at the club and through that I hope the fans will be rewarded with a good performance.
“It hasn’t happened yet and there are some reasons but not excuses. We’ve had injuries, no half back perhaps and poor performances and that has led to some anxiety in the ground. I watched us play against Widnes when I was banned and you could feel it in the air.
“Long term making Langtree Park as an intimidating place to play has to be a priority.”
He continued: “We haven’t started well enough in games this year and that has to be the focus on Monday. You lose energy not having the ball early on and that comes back on us later in the game.
“We are going to rip into this game.
“Last month we have been good, but in the freakish weather against Hull KR they schooled us. We should be happy with the last month but when it comes to combinations and momentum for longer periods we’ve not had that.
“A big performance will set us up for the rest of the season. We have to produce big performances against the teams around us as if we don’t, we don’t deserve to win the comp. We have to put ourselves in a good position to have a crack at the grand final. We are passionate and believe we can do it.”
Jon has played in a multitude of positions this season and finds himself back in the halves after a short sabbatical at second row/loose forward.
“My role has changed, but it still is to organise the team and move them around,” he added. “I need to bring others into the game like Willie Manu. I’m probably the best organiser in the team due to my experience. I’ve gone from a player who can pass, kick and run a bit into a guy who has had to understand the technical subtleties of a half back.
“Nathan Brown has been good for me in that regard really. The more about the game I can learn the better. In the last match I went at 9 and that was a challenge. I believe in the club and what it means to the community and I will do anything for it.
“I have sacrificed a lot. I believe I have good utility value for the England squad and I want to be a part of that, but it is difficult when you aren’t playing in best position for you. I like the challenge and the game and I have learnt a lot about myself this season.”
Tickets for tonight’s match are still on sale. You can get yours by calling into the Ticket Office at Langtree Park or on the cash turnstiles from 4.45pm.