Fitness boost ahead of Cup showdown

Sean O'Loughlin is set to return
Sean O'Loughlin is set to return

Shaun Wane hopes to welcome back four England stars for this weekend’s Challenge Cup showdown with Castleford.

Captain Sean O’Loughlin returns after a month on the sidelines with a leg injury.

He has missed Wigan’s last four successive away matches – all victories – and his return will provide a huge boost to their prospect of marching into the semi-finals.

Tomkins brothers Joel and Sam, as well as stand-off George Williams, are also in the frame for Saturday’s BBC-televised quarter-final after sitting out the 7-0 win at Widnes last Thursday.

Wane said last night: “We will check on them again this week but hopefully they’ll all be ready to play.”

He will have a better idea today whether Dan Sarginson may figure after missing the last two games with a quad injury.

But Kiwi centre Anthony Gelling’s chances were rated as “very slim” after he suffered a recurrence of a pectoral injury last Thursday. Wane expects an update on his injury today.

Academy-product Nick Gregson also missed the end of Thursday’s win and is set for surgery on a knee ligament injury. And prop Ben Flower may be suspended after being cited for a dangerous throw in Thursday’s victory.

Wane will scrutinise the incident this morning before deciding whether to contest the Grade C charge with the RFL disciplinary tonight.

Flower has the option of taking an early guilty plea, which would result in an automatic two-game ban – also ruling him out of the trip to Catalans.

If he contests the charge and loses, he could be banned for three games.

Wane is still without Tony Clubb, Liam Farrell, Micky McIlorum through injury, while another England forward, John Bateman, has served three of his club-imposed eight-game suspension for an off-field scrap.