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Warrington Wolves line up Chris Bridge for first team return against St Helens
WOLVES’ ambitions of ‘derby’ success against St Helens have been boosted with the expected return of three injured warriors but Lee Briers’ availability again this season is now in question.
Leading try scorer Joel Monaghan and his influential play-making older brother Michael are in the 19-man squad for the clash at The Halliwell Jones Stadium tomorrow, Friday, after missing the first loss of the season at Hull KR on Sunday.
And England centre Chris Bridge is in line for his first game in primrose and blue since last September after a successful comeback from knee surgery playing for partner club Swinton Lions at the weekend.
Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith said everything possible is being done to avoid surgery that could rule the influential 34-year-old stand off out for the rest of the year.
“Lee had an injection, which is hoped will help him make progress, but it is just a waiting game,” added Smith.
“It does not seem to be improving. It is still pretty much the same.
“Surgery is the absolute last option. We are hoping it will not get to that stage and it is better to give him time.
“If he does require an operation it will be a lengthy recovery that would most likely rule him out for the rest of the season, so we’re just giving him time to overcome it.”
St Helens arrive with a record of two wins in five games, both of which came away from home, and considering Wolves lost both of their two home games against Saints last season it seems that home advantage plays a minimal role in this match-up.
Form counts for nothing too, even while Saints are trying to find their feet under new boss Nathan Brown.
Smith said: “When we play Saints, you know it is going to be a tough game and a high quality game.
“It can take some time to acclimatise (as a new coach) but I think if you look at every other team in the competition then most of them probably won’t have found their best form yet either.
“St Helens are still a terrifc side and a dangerous one.”