LIAM Farrell is poised for an England debut this week.
The forward’s all-action performance was one of the few positives from Wigan’s shock 30-22 defeat against Bradford at the DW last Friday.
Coach Shaun Wane singled him out for praise – labelling his display as “outstanding” – and it appears national coach Steve McNamara has taken note.
Farrell is set to line-up against the Exiles in Wednesday’s second ‘international origin’ encounter at Huddersfield.
But his Warriors team-mate Gareth Hock won’t figure because of an unspecified injury.
Farrell – who played for England’s second-string, the Knights, last month–- will join two other Wigan team-mates in the England squad.
Prop Lee Mossop and winger Josh Charnley are also in McNamara’s panel, while two Wigan players – prop Epalahame Lauaki and winger Anthony Gelling – are in the Exiles squad.
Meanwhile, Wane is likely to welcome back injured players Sam Tomkins, Chris Tuson, Paul Prescott and Harrison Hansen for Sunday’s trip to Wakefield – their last Super League match before they face Leeds in a crucial, mouth-watering Challenge Cup semi-final.
But he is sweating on the availability of two other senior players.
Centre Darrell Goulding twisted his ankle in the loss to Bradford, forcing him to withdraw from the action in the second-half, and Wane was last night waiting for a likely recovery time-frame.
And hooker Mike McIlorum will discover today whether he faces a ban for his punch on Olivier Elima which saw him sent off in the 55th minute.
The RFL match review panel could rule that the red card was sufficient punishment – particularly given Wigan surrendered a winning position and lost the game following his dismissal.
But if he is charged with striking, McIlorum may decide to enter an early guilty plea – rather than argue he was provoked by Elima – and take a one-match ban, ensuring he is available for the Cup tie against the Rhinos.
WIGAN’S Under-18s returned to action with a 62-22 win at Sheffield.
Sam Powell made his return from injury as the Under-20s mauled their Bradford counterparts 60-6 at Wigan RU in the curtain-raiser to a legends match on Saturday, during the Sean O’Loughlin fun day. A bumper crowd turned out to see a Paul Sculthorpe-inspired Saints side appear to get the better of the Wigan oldboys in a friendly, though the official score was read out as a 27-0 home win!