Dudson joins Warriors walking wounded

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GIL Dudson has become the latest player to fall victim to Wigan’s early-season injury jinx.

The Welsh prop broke a bone in his hand in last Friday’s loss at Leeds – a game in which Wigan were missing six front-line stars.

Details of his injury should become clear once Dudson has visited a specialist this week, but Shaun Wane admits he is a major doubt for Saturday’s visit of Widnes. However, his likely loss could be off-set by a first appearance of the year from Epa Lauaki this weekend.

The Tongan front-rower suffered a leg injury during pre-season.

But he is inching closer to a return and could come into the frame for the visit of the Vikings.

Lauaki arrived ahead of the 2012 season from Hull FC.

And if he is fit, he would be a like-for-like swap for Dudson in the squad, should he be ruled out as expected.

Wane said: “Gil’s broken a bone in his hand. He’s waiting to see a specialist to see how bad it is, but I would say he’s very doubtful for this weekend.”

The 22-year-old, signed by Wane ahead of 2012, has steadily improved this season and Wane hopes to see him back in action soon.

“I’ve been really pleased with him,” said Wane. “He’s a still a way off where he wants to be.

“But he’s still young, he’s improving and he’s working hard.

“Gil could be as good as he wants to be, because he’s big, mobile and he has good skills.

“He’s had to step up over the last few weeks, as all the front-rowers have had to with so many senior players out, and he’s done a good job for us.”

Wane is still without senior props Lee Mossop (shoulder) and Paul Prescott (back), while Lauaki hasn’t figured in any of their seven matches.

Harrison Hansen and Anthony Gelling are also sidelined, but Wane expects to welcome Sam Tomkins back this weekend.

The full-back missed the 18-14 loss at Leeds with a dead-leg.

Having reviewed the game extensively since, Wane has stuck with his verdict and said: “I was really happy with the effort. Our execution wasn’t at its best and still we went very close to winning the game.”