Wigan head coach Shaun Wane admits he could face several selection dilemmas for next week’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Warrington.
Having been plagued by an injury crisis most of this season, the Warriors head coach looks set to welcome back six key players for the clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Farrell, Sam Powell, Anthony Gelling and long-term absentees Sam Tomkins and John Bateman are in the frame for a return next Saturday.
This will mean Wane having to drop a number of young players who have come into the side and performed well, something the Wigan boss hasn’t had to do at all this campaign.
“I’ve not had any selection dilemmas. I think I’ve only dropped one player this year, with Willie (Isa) in the World Club Challenge,” Wane told Wigan Today.
“That’s the only awkward conversation I’ve had. It’s a fair call to only have one player to drop in half-a-season. It’s up to me to decide how many I put in.”
It’s been a tough season to date for the Super League champions who are now without a win in seven matches, form that has seen them drop to seventh and cut eight points adrift from the top four.
Despite the returning faces, Wane is well aware that things will not be corrected instantly but he is pleased to have more bodies to choose from.
“They’re not going to fix everything,” he said. “Most of them have not trained that much, but t’ll be good to have some bodies back.
“Our young kids are playing busted and they’re under the pump at the minute, so it’s good to have the options. I hope I know them better than that.”
Despite their difficult season so far, Wigan still remain a threat, particularly in the Challenge Cup, and they will fancy their chances of progressing against a Warrington side who have also struggled.
The sides last met at the Magic Weekend three weeks ago with a late try from Joe Burgess rescuing a 24-all draw for the Warriors in Newcastle.
Next Saturday’s game presents a completely different scenario and the best chance of silverware for both teams in 2017. The match from the Halliwell Jones Stadium will be live on BBC 1, kicking off at 3pm.