Warrington centre Ryan Atkins believes both the Wolves and Friday’s opponents St Helens will be desperate for two priceless points in their Super League meeting tonight.
The Wolves know they can move level on points with seventh-placed Saints with a win tonight – while defeat could see a four-point gap open up on the eight by the end of the weekend.
Their impressive revival was halted after defeat at Hull last week – which Atkins labelled a ‘reality check – the centre needs no reminding of the importance of tonight’s fixture.
“We lost the confidence we went into the season with but we’re building that back up now,” he said.
“We’ve all got smiles on our face, we’re enjoying it and we’re ready for the derby. They’re desperate and we’re desperate for the two points so it’s a big game.
“It (the Hull defeat) just gives us a bit of a reality check that we’re not flying as well as we wanted to be. We knew it would be a tough ask going to Hull; they’re a great team and it’ll be good for us. We built confidence over Easter and we know we need to kick on again now – we’ve realised we need to pick up another level if we’re to get into that top four.
“That was one of our worst performances in a good while. Me personally, it was the worst game of my season so far so I need to get back to some better standards and as a group, we need to be a bit smarter with the ball and be a bit more physical. It’s good that Easter is out of the way so we can actually do some training too.”
Atkins also concedes the Wolves will be doing it tough tonight, playing without three of their leading players in Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford and Kevin Brown, who are all away on England duty.
He said: “It’s going to be a tough ask; if you take three leading players out of any team it’ll be tough but that’s part of team sport. It’s good for the club that we’re getting players going out to represent our country.
“It’s a great honour for them and they’ve been three of our standout players.”