Pressure is on St Helens

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The Independent Online
LONDON BRONCOS and Warrington both have St Helens in their sights as Super League comes home this weekend.

Saints, racked by internal problems, are the vulnerable stragglers in the top five and the two chasing clubs who meet at Wilderspool this afternoon - plus Sheffield Eagles - must feel that they have a chance of catching them.

London would be happier if they had Martin Offiah fit to return, but the game against Wigan next week is now his target. Wes Cotton is also injured, so a reshuffle in the backs sees Chris Ryan on the wing and Glen Air at stand-off.

The Broncos' new forward from South Sydney, Shane Millard, is on the bench after arriving from Australia. "I am so keen to prove myself to Tony Currie and the team, especially with the Broncos playing the way they are," he said.

Warrington have a number of injury legacies from their defeat by Castleford in Cardiff, not least Lee Briers' shoulder. Neither side should make up ground on Saints tomorrow, as the bottom club, Huddersfield, are the visitors to Knowsley Road.

Saints are without Brett Goldspink, resting what his coach, Shaun McRae, describes as "a chronic ankle injury" - something that will be of concern to Wigan, who have signed him for next season.

McRae has also been told that he cannot select Bobbie Goulding, suspended by the club for allegedly abusing a team-mate in Swansea. There is rich irony in that, in view of the way McRae has urged the board to take a firmer line with Goulding in the past.

Sean Long and Tommy Martyn are the half-backs in his absence, while Vila Matautia is likely to make his first appearance of the season from the bench, despite being sent off for fighting in his comeback match in the A team after recovering from a broken arm.

Phil Veivers, the caretaker coach at Huddersfield, goes back to a ground where he spent 12 seasons without his best forward, Neil Harmon, who was sold to Bradford this week. Harmon and the Bulls' other new signing, Nathan McAvoy, are in the starting line-up against Sheffield.

"There will be two disappointed players in the squad, but we needed that competition for spots," said the Bradford coach, Matthew Elliott.

Bradford, could also slip out of the play-off picture, will be without Bernard Dwyer for a month after knee surgery. Simon Knox makes his first start of the season in the second row.