Saints Ready For Hull Tie

KEIRON Cunningham is looking forward to locking horns with Hull FC this Sunday.

Saints take on the Airlie Birds in the Sixth Round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at Langtree Park with a quarter final place at stake.

It’ll be the second time the two sides have met this season – with Hull FC edging a 17-16 win back in April.

But Saints head into the clash fit and in decent form following their win over Castleford on Sunday.

“We just had to keep believing in what we were doing (at Cas) because in the first half we weren’t that far short,” hie said. “We played against a resilient Cas side that came off a heavy scoreline the week before. We knew they would come out fighting and they did that.

“We weren’t as clinical as we could have been in the first half. We had plenty of opportunities to put them to the sword but Cas being Cas, they scored points.

“We knew we would get our shot though and in the second half we were the better team.

“We got out to a lead with 15 to go and defended it. They had a lot of opportunities on our line and the lads just defended well and kept on fighting. Then we sealed the game with a try.

“They scored three tries from kicks but only broke our system once. We have to get that escort better on the edges for kicks and if we do that then we won’t be far short.

“Good sides win games by defending leads no matter what sides chuck at them.”

Saints will head into Sunday’s game with a clean bill of health.

Jonny Lomax is continuing to improve each week and there’s a very slim chance Adam Swift could also feature.

“It’s touch and go for Swifty; we’ll give him a shot but it is unlikely,” Keiron added. “In any case the outside backs have done well in the last few weeks and it would be a shame to change them.

“Jonny showed improvement on Sunday. There are good things and bad things in his game at the moment but that is understandable considering it has been 13 or so months since he last played.

“He will be firing on all cylinders soon and at the weekend proved he is a game breaker.”

He continued: “It was a good game the last time we played Hull FC. We came off a big game against Widnes on Easter Monday and didn’t rest anyone whilst they brought six or seven fresh bodies into the game. We fought until the last minute and had our shot at a field goal whilst they took theirs.

“This time we have a longer turnaround and with some of our starting players back I’d like to think we would be better than on that night. It’s an important game for us – but every game is and we will go out and prepare well.

“Sika Manu and Frank Pritchard will be missing for them and of course, the least amount of good players playing for them is better for us. But they will bring back Ellis and Minichiello and they are good players.

“They are the form side in the comp and will take some beating.

“I’d like to think it could be our year and we always believe that is the case here. We have a real affiliation with the Challenge Cup in this town and were close to going to Wembley last season.

“I’m sure the fans will turn out for us as they have been immense in the last couple of weeks. Against Leeds it was like Knowsley Road of old and they brought us home. It meant a lot to myself and the players to see and hear that.

“On Sunday at Cas they were superb too and were our 18th man. They have a real influence on the game.”

Saints v Hull will kick off at 4.30pm on Sunday May 8.

Tickets are on sale from the Ticket Office, by calling 01744 455052 or online here.

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