ST. HELENS are praying the weather holds ahead of this weekend's rearranged Norweb Challenge clash with Wigan at Knowsley Road.

The fixture, which was called off at the last minute on New Year's Day due to ice on the terraces, is scheduled for this Sunday, 3pm kick-off.

The pitch passed an inspection on Friday morning. If the game is called off again it will be switched to Central Park on Sunday, January 19.

Saints welcome back skipper Bobbie Goulding for the big match following a week of speculation over his future.

He missed part one of the festive double-header due to a back injury.

Coach Shaun McRae quashed rumours that the star scrum half had gone AWOL saying: "That is nonsense. He has been at every training session this week and will play on Sunday."

McRae remained tight-lipped about his team this week, but the Australian coach was confident of one thing.

"We are in better shape than we were on Boxing Day. We have had a few more practices with the football and are praying the game is on," he said.

"The terraces are clear and the pitch is in good shape, a bit hard, but playable.

"We want to play this game as soon as possible because we have another friendly at home to Leeds in two weeks."

A bumper attendance is expected on Sunday as Saints bid to avenge their 32-22 Boxing Day thumping at Wigan, witnessed by a crowd of more than 16,000.

McRae said his players were all fired up for revenge when the New Year's Day fixture was frustratingly postponed.

"I understand that Wigan were not too fussed about playing the New Year's Day game and were quite happy when Boxing Day was out of the way," he added.

"We were ready for it, so it was very disappoitning to have it called off two hours from kick-off.

"I was sorry for our players. They had to sacrifice their New Year's Eve only for the game to be called off."

Wigan, meanwhile, hope to have Mick Cassidy, Terry O'Connor and Simon Haughton back in their line-up along with stand off Nigel Wright, who has not played for 20 months.

Saints full back Steve Prescott was transfer-listed at £200,000 this week after contract talks broke down.

The move fuelled speculation that Prescott will be used in an exchange deal with Warrington Wolves for stand off Iestyn Harris.

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