STUART Fielden will get the chance to fight for a new deal when he ends his first-team injury exile this Friday night.
The prop has not figured for the Warriors’ senior side since a game against his former club Bradford back in February last year.
A cruel run of bad luck saw him sidelined by knee and pectoral problems.
But he returned to competitive action in an Under-20s game last month, and Shaun Wane has confirmed he plans to throw him back into the Super League cauldron against St Helens.
Wane said: “I’m excited about seeing him play because to come in and do the rehab he has done, for the length of time he has done, it’s incredible.
“I wouldn’t say he’s gone up in my estimations, because he was already up there with what he’s done in the game, but what he’s been through – two years of not playing when you’re in your prime – I can’t think of anything worse.
“But he does look after himself, he’s one of the best professionals I’ve worked with.”
Fielden, who moved to Wigan in a world-record transfer in 2006, is out of contract at the end of this season.
And though he has not played a game for 18-months, Wane has not ruled out the prospect of the 32-year-old extending his stay at the DW Stadium.
He’s big, fit, strong, tough, and I’m not discounting him staying here,” said Wane, who will be losing Kiwi front-rower Jeff Lima to NRL side Souths at the end of this season.
“Stu is a professional sportsman playing for his living, he’s under pressure, but he’s played in some big games before and I think he’ll have a dig on Friday.
“If he performs and I feel he can do a job here, we’ll talk.
“He’s not been through two years of rigours of Super League, so he’s fresh aside from the injuries he has had.”
Welsh front-rower Gil Dudson may also return for Friday’s match, which will see the table-toppers presented with the league leaders’ shield.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Gil back, because he was one of the form front-rowers in Super League before he got injured,” added Wane.
The coach will name his 19-man squad today and is considering starting with Thomas Leuluai.
Chris Tuson is still a doubt with a knee injury, while Epa Lauaki is set to play for the Under-20s as they begin their Grand Final charge with a play-off match against Hull FC at Orrell this Saturday.
Kick-off is 2pm and fans are reminded season-tickets do not offer free admission for play-off matches.