LIAM Farrell will miss Friday’s blockbuster against St Helens – as Shaun Wane faces up to a fresh selection headache.
A clutch of players – including Sam Powell, Josh Charnley and Darrell Goulding – are fresh doubts for the televised derby.
And Wane confirmed last night he had accepted an early guilty plea on charges laid at Farrell and Anthony Gelling for offences in Sunday’s bruising 36-28 defeat at Wakefield.
Farrell made a Grade B dangerous throw on Warriors recruit Tuilima Tautai, while Gelling was cited for a Grade A punch. Their early pleas mean they will serve the minimum sentences – in Farrell’s case, a one-game ban – rather than face the RFL disciplinary panel today and risk a heftier punishment.
Gelling is free to play.
But the news about Farrell came as Wigan were checking on a number of injury problems which may bite into Wigan’s backs division.
Wane, though, has ruled out the possibility of recalling Logan Tomkins from his loan spell at Salford.
Hooker Mike McIlorum is facing eight weeks on the sidelines with a broken arm and, with versatile Powell filling in for the injured Blake Green at stand-off recently, it has left George Williams and rookie Callum Wright as his only options at No.9.
Powell is among several players in doubt to face St Helens this week.
By recalling Tomkins, the knock-on effect would ease the pressure at No.6 should Powell miss out.
But Tomkins suffered a shoulder injury in the defeat against Warrington on Sunday and – even if he was fit – Wane would be uncomfortable cutting short his loan-deal which runs until the end of this season.
Wane said: “We agreed to let Logan stay at Salford for the season, and we’re not going to renege on that. It wouldn’t be fair.”
With many of the his players not expected to be sidelined for long, Wane has taken the view that it is better to weather the storm with his current contingent.
Williams played the full game at hooker in the Magic Weekend triumph against Leeds and proved he can handle the minutes – with or without Wright on the bench.
Elsewhere, three players picked up knocks in Sunday’s loss at Wakefield.
Charnley (hamstring), Powell (knee) and Goulding (knee) are unlikely to be fit for Friday.
And with No.1 Matty Bowen and winger Dom Manfredi still doubtful, it leaves Wane with the prospect of juggling his squad for the visit of the league leaders.
Ironically, despite the loss of so many backs – and Farrell’s suspension – Wane has a strong contingent of forwards. In addition to those who played at Wakefield, captain Sean O’Loughlin (knee) will be back in the frame and Dom Crosby, Gil Dudson and John Bateman may return from injuries.
Bateman and fellow backrower, Jack Hughes, have had time playing in the centres, and may have to drop into the three-quarters against Saints. Dan Sarginson may continue at full-back, with winger Joe Burgess coming back into the frame and Jack Murphy keeping his place on the other flank.
O’Loughlin also has plenty of experience playing at stand-off if he is needed.