SHAUN Wane believes the “local factor” will drive up the intensity of Friday’s mouth-watering derby.
Wigan, in third, will switch places with second-placed St Helens if they claim the two points at Langtree Park.
A victory would also secure a notable double against their fiercest rivals, following their 12-4 triumph at the DW on Good Friday.
But Wane is well aware of the challenge facing his squad.
This fixture often reaches epic scale, and the Warriors boss is confident the local flavours running through both squads will ensure this televised-contest is a blockbuster.
He said: “It’s Wigan-St Helens, so it’s always a big game.
“But then, you look at the number of players in both teams who grew up in the town and know what it means to the people... it makes it more special.
“The other players feed off that, so it makes a difference. I’ve got a lot of respect for Keiron Cunningham, he’s doing a great job.”
Wigan had 10 academy products in the side which beat Huddersfield 32-18 last Sunday.
St Helens had eight homegrown stars in their line-up which beat Salford 32-12.
While Saints have several injury worries, Wane reported no fresh concerns after Micky McIlorum (leg) and John Bateman (head) had their minor injuries assessed yesterday.
And prop Dom Crosby may come back into the frame, having missed out on the win at the John Smith’s Stadium which wedged a five-point gap between themselves and the fourth-placed Giants.
Longer-term absentees Tony Clubb, Dom Manfredi, Iain Thornley and Anthony Gelling are still out.
No Wigan or St Helens players were cited by the match review panel yesterday.