Wigan v St Helens preview.
Challenging cup tie awaits Saints - Wane
Wigan coach Shaun Wane reckons St Helens will go into Saturday's Carnegie Challenge Cup showdown at the DW Stadium "under-done".
Saints are enjoying a five-match winning run and have scored 216 points in their last four games but Wane believes the ease with which they have won those matches could count against them in a high-intensity quarter-final.
Wigan are also on a roll, having won their last seven matches, including a 28-10 Stobart Super League triumph in the Good Friday derby, although Wane admits that will count for little tomorrow.
"We played well that day," he said. "We wanted to win that game badly, we had a will to win.
"We're fully aware that St Helens weren't firing that day and that it will have no bearing on what happens this time.
"The one thing about their team is that since our game, they've not been in a real arm wrestle.
"They've had some easy wins over teams like Oldham and Widnes. We need to make sure they know they've been in a game, get them in an arm wrestle going set for set and see what they're like under pressure."
That home defeat by the Warriors is the only one suffered by Saints since Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham took charge following the sacking of Royce Simmons and their acting head coach insists there is nothing wrong with their form.
"We know if we put in a real good performance, we'll be competitive against anybody," said Rush. "We've shown that.
"We're in pretty good form and, if we can get some troops back, it makes us that little big stronger."
Rush expects to welcome back England second rower Jon Wilkin, who has not played since hurting his shoulder on Good Friday, as well as prop Josh Perry and utility back Gary Wheeler.
It is 12 years since Saints last failed to reach the last four of the Cup but Rush does not believe that adds any more pressure on his side, who have lifted the trophy seven times in the Super League era.
"I think there's always pressure at this club," he said. "You are expected to get to the big games, that's just the way it is.
"There's been expectations placed on this club since the formation of Super League. We got off to such a good start in 1996 and it's stayed with the club. That's what the fans want.
"It's hard when you draw Wigan in a quarter-final because Saints-Wigan would make a great final but we could easily have drawn them in the fourth round.
"I suppose if we are going to go on and win it, then we'll need to beat the big teams."
Wane, a former Wigan player, described himself as "the happiest man in the north-west" after his team's Good Friday win at Langtree Park and he has made no secret of a burning desire to lead the holders out at Wembley.
"I badly want to get to Wembley," he said. "I loved my time last year as assistant but to go there as head coach of my home-town club would be awesome.
"But we're quite a few games away from that yet. This is a massive hurdle for us and I will never ever under-estimate St Helens. They are great team and a good club.
"It's got the makings of a fantastic game. You can tell there is a big game because there's been a bit of feistiness in our sessions."
Rush, who will stay in charge until the arrival of Nathan Brown in November, is equally passionate about the prospect of leading his home-town team out at Wembley.
"I've experienced this rivalry since the age of four," he said.
"I grew up in some pretty dark days in the Eighties and early Nineties, especially going to Wembley and watching us get beat 27-0 (in the 1988/89 season) - our coach journey home felt like about three days long."