Shaun Wane admits the chance to ruin their rivals’ play-offs hopes will add extra spice to Friday’s high-stakes derby.
Wigan and St Helens are level on points, both one point behind fourth-placed Wakefield.
And with just four games to go before the play-offs semi-finals, defeat would strike a damaging blow to the losers’ chances.
Wane says Saints will be trying to twist the knife just days after Wigan’s Wembley heartache.
He said: “They’ll be motivated to mess our season up – and we are for them.
“It’s game on.
“Lose this, it’s out of our hands and we don’t want that. So this is must-win, like last Saturday was.”
Wane took training at their Orrell base yesterday and saw enough to convince him the 18-14 Challenge Cup final defeat to Hull will motivate – rather than deflate – his players.
“The boys are pretty hard on themselves, they feel motivated to get the win,” he said. “They feel anger and I’ve encouraged that. We’ll turn up in a really committed mood. That’s why I said this is a perfect game for us.
“There’s an intense rivalry, Saints have had the week off so they’ll be fit and ready – it’s got the makings of a great game.”
Wane will name his 19-man squad today but will wait until tomorrow’s captain’s run before finalising his line-up, and may freshen his side up. Forwards Joel Tomkins and Jack Wells are on stand-by.