Cup venue fiasco not a distraction

Paul Prescott drives the ball in at Featherstone in the Challenge Cup
Paul Prescott drives the ball in at Featherstone in the Challenge Cup

SHAUN Wane insists his players have not been distracted by the Cup venue uncertainty as Wigan prepare to welcome Hull KR to the DW tonight.

The Warriors will leap ahead of Huddersfield into top spot on the Super League ladder – for 24 hours at least – if they collect the two points.

But the build-up to the Sky-televised showdown has been completely overshadowed by uncertainty over where Wane’s outfit will face St Helens the following week in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.

Wane said: “We’ve not mentioned it. Our preparation has all been on this week – I want a really strong, aggressive, ruthless performance.

“A massive part of rugby league is being mentally prepared, and that’s what we’ve concentrated on.”

Centre George Carmont is set to return for Wigan tonight but prop Paul Prescott is a doubt with a back injury, which may keep Jack Hughes in the frame. Meanwhile, the RFL yesterday issued a statement insisting the tie will definitely be played at 2.30pm next Saturday, and be shown live on BBC1.

But there was no mention of the venue and Wigan are refusing to comment.

Leigh’s Sports Village and Bolton’s Reebok Stadium remain in the frame, but the longer the saga has dragged on, the more it has fuelled suggestions the Warriors may wait until after Latics’ game against Blackburn on Monday – to discover if Roberto Martinez’s men are safe from relegation – before making a call.

Latics chairman and stadium owner Dave Whelan does not want Warriors’ match played 24 hours before a potentially-vital Premier League fixture to protect the pitch – but some suggest he may give way if his club have already secured their top-flight status.