KC: Take The Positives

KEIRON Cunningham says his side have to ‘beware the wounded animal’ as Salford come to Langtree Park this Friday.

The Red Devils have been beset with injury and suspension in the last few weeks and that has seen them slide down the First Utility Super League table.

But that makes them a very tough prospect according to Cunningham who wants Saints to back up the positives of the Magic Weekend.

“I thought it was a great experience in Newcastle,” he said. “Even though there were more than 27,000 in there on the Sunday – and that is a great attendance – it didn’t seem like it was an empty stadium. You can get that with bigger venues but it was a great atmosphere.

“It is definitely a venue we should look at again.

“I love the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and for me that would be my first choice. I have a love affair with that place having won trophies and played for Wales there. As long as the venue is right, then it is a great concept – and Newcastle looks like a great spot.

“It had a big game feel which is good for junior players as it prepares them for bigger occasions like semi-finals and finals. I thought we went in there and did a good job.

“We started well, lost our way and then got back in the battle. I thought Jon Wilkin was outstanding and kicked well. James Roby and Travis Burns kicked well too. It was a good two points for us.

“We’re in a really important block of four games. We’ve had two big away games and now have two big home ones. There is usually a big changing of the tide around this time of the season. You can see the changes in the league table after the weekend’s results.

“We have done well in the last two weeks and now are at home. We would hope to be playing in front of a big crowd against a tough Salford team.

“I’d never take anything for granted as a player or coach and I know anyone who comes here to play the Champions will come out fighting and raise their game.

“Rangi Chase is back for them and he will make Salford tougher to play against. But we’re not bad ourselves and as long as we attack and defend well then we know we are a tough team to play.”

Saints expect to name a similar squad to the one that faced Warrington with Mark Percival most likely to return.

“We have a few bumps and bruises from the game,” Cunningham added. “We have a short turnaround and won’t get time to get out on the field so we will have to ride a crest of a wave and go in with a positive attitude.

“We are slowly getting players back and I’m hoping so have my two strike back rowers and halves on the pitch together at some point this season!

“Luke Walsh isn’t far away and Joe Greenwood is doing well. He is well ahead of schedule; a freak who is healing well. If he keeps going and progressing then he could be back for the Castleford game or the Quarter Final.

“Atelea Vea is probably another six weeks away but we should get Mark Percival back this week. He was 50:50 to play Warrington but we decided to give him another week.

“Jonny Lomax is where he should be at the moment and all the medical staff and specialists are happy with him. It will be a long road but he is in a good place. I’d like to think he will be a big influence for us next year.

“When he comes back he will be 100 per cent and we will make sure he ticks every box before playing. We he plays well, we play well, and we want him to come back and stay back for a number of years to come.”

Tickets for Friday’s game at Langtree Park against Salford Red Devils are now on sale. You can get yours from the Ticket Office, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.

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