St Helens return to Super League action on Friday looking to bounce back from a chastening Challenge Cup defeat against Warrington Wolves on Sunday.

Saints face Hull FC on Friday night at the Totally Wicked Stadium, just five days after the Merseyside club’s bid to win a first Challenge Cup since 2021 ended prematurely with a 31-8 loss on home turf at the quarter-final.

As if to rub salt in Saints wounds, players and fans will only be able to watch on as their Totally Wicked Stadium hosts the Challenge Cup’s semi-finals in May.

Saints sit fifth in the Super League, two points off leaders Catalan Dragons after seven games. Hull FC are dawdling in 11th place, with just one win and a -166 points difference.

After that Challenge Cup exit, Saints coach Paul Wellens said: “It’s extremely disappointing and quite sobering. I expected us to respond [to the previous week’s defeat to Dragons], and we didn’t. We’ve got to do a bit of soul-searching”.

Unable to power that searching will likely be forwards Alex Walmsley and Curtis Sironen both going off injured at the weekend.

“I’m certainly going to have to look at what options are available [for Friday],” said Wellens. “I suppose what the message is, the onus is on the people with the shirt[s] to keep them.

“The team is going to be picked on form, and the players who are not quite doing it have to understand that, being at this club, there’s a standard you need to have when you pull on this jersey”.

The head coach should, though, be able to call upon veteran centre Mark Percival, who has been recovering from a head injury sustained during Saints’ Good Friday derby win over Wigan.

St Helens will be looking for their first win in three when they take on Hull, who ended a run of 17 straight defeats against the Saints last June.

(Featured image courtesy of Alamy under agreed license.)