Body blow for Escare

Morgan Escare has scored four tries for Wigan
Morgan Escare has scored four tries for Wigan

Morgan Escare is the latest Wigan player set for a long spell on the sidelines.

The French full-back suffered a knee injury last weekend.

While details have not been confirmed, it is understood he will need an operation early next week and could be ruled out for the rest of the season.

The setback is a major blow for Escare, who had made a sizzling start to his Wigan career and only recently signed a new three-year deal.

He was one of four players who suffered injuries in the 54-4 loss at Castleford.

Prop Ben Flower has been ruled out long-term after snapping his Achilles, and there are fears centre Anthony Gelling may be out for a lengthy spell with a knee injury, though it is unlikely there will be any confirmation of a likely recovery-timeframe until further tests have been carried out.

The one shoot of encouraging news is stand-off George Williams will only be out for around two weeks with the knee injury which ruled him out of England’s Test against Samoa on Saturday.

In the short-term, Lewis Tierney is set to fill Escare’s full-back role – the Scotland international winger had a brief spell in the position a year ago – until Sam Tomkins is fit to return, possibly next month.

This is the second successive year Shaun Wane has had to manage a crippling, and persistent, injury crisis.

There are 12 ‘starters’ unavailable for tomorrow’s visit of Salford, as well as at least two fringe players who may have been next in line.

As well as Escare, Gelling, Flower, Williams and Tomkins, Thomas Leuluai (broken jaw), Oliver Gildart (back), John Bateman (shoulder), Tony Clubb (kidney) and Dom Manfredi (knee) are also sidelined.

Micky McIlorum has a one-game suspension to serve, and Sean O’Loughlin is away on England duty.

Fringe players including Jake Shorrocks, Connor Farrell and Jack Higginson are also out.

Wane has still been able to name a recognisable and strong squad to face Salford, though two – halfback Josh Woods and full-back Gabriel Fell – have yet to play in the first-team.

His biggest problem would appear to be at halfback and hooker.

Sam Powell and utility Nick Gregson appear the most likely options to play in the halves, with Josh Ganson – who only debuted a week ago – at hooker. Woods could be involved, though Wane hinted earlier this week Joel Tomkins could be a back-up option for the hooker role.

With Escare, Shorrocks and Tomkins all out, Powell is expected to take the goal-kicking role.