1. ITV Report

Former England scrum-half Matty Smith still has a future at St Helens despite being dropped by Coach Justin Holbrook

Despite being dropped, there is a way back for Smith under Holbrook. Photo: PA

Former England scrum-half Matty Smith still has a future at St Helens under coach Justin Holbrook despite losing his place in the team.

The 30-year-old Smith, who rejoined his home-town after helping Wigan win the Grand Final last October, has missed Saints' last two Super 8s fixtures after being dropped following the derby defeat to the Warriors at the start of the month.

Saints won both their last two games with 21-year-old Danny Richardson at scrum-half to revive their top-four hopes and coach Holbrook confirmed on Monday that Smith would not be in the squad for Thursday's final game at Salford, which they need to win to clinch a semi-final spot.

Smith has endured a difficult season back at his first professional club. Credit: PA

Holbrook, who succeeded Keiron Cunningham as coach in May, re-shuffled his side to accommodate new signing Ben Barba at full-back, with Jonny Lomax switching to the halves and Frenchman Theo Fages providing back-up.

"The 17 hasn't been locked in yet but I can't imagine there will be any change to our 19 from last week," Holdbrook said at his weekly press conference.

"I was happy with the way Danny and Jonny went last week, with Ben at the back. They went really well together and we need to continue that on."

Saints have won their last two matches with Danny Richardson at scrum-half Credit: PA

Smith has experienced a difficult first season back at his first professional club. He missed the start of the season after breaking a leg in a friendly and was out for a month with a serious eye injury sustained at Leeds in June.

He forced his way back into the side in time for the start of the Super 8s but paid the price for a run of three-successive defeats and at the weekend found himself playing for St Helens' reserves, alongside Adam Swift, Kyle Amor and Tommy Lee, as they beat Halifax 60-0.

Asked if Smith, who has two years left on his contract, still figured in Holbrook's plans, the coach said: "I think so.

"I've sat down and had a couple of chats with Matty. The hard thing for him is that he's had a really disrupted season. He missed the start of the year, came back and got a few games in and then obviously had his eye injury.

Matty Smith is looking to force his way back into Holbrook's plans. Credit: PA

He's a quality player but at this stage with where we're at, I''m happy with who we've got there.

– Justin Holbrook on Matty Smith

"He just needs to get a few games in but we're not in a position to give him time for that."

With no more reserves fixtures, it seems Smith has played his last match of the season unless Saints pick up injuries in their halves as they battle to reach Old Trafford.