WARRIORS are set to let Ryan Hampshire join Super League rivals Castleford on loan.
The full-back played in nearly half of Wigan’s first-team games last season.
But with Sam Tomkins replacing Matty Bowen in the No.1 shirt, his chances appear limited.
Castleford are keen to recruit him for 2016 and a deal could be tied up in the coming days.
But Wigan don’t want to risk losing him altogether.
Rather than release him from his contract, they are prepared to let him spend 12-months on loan at the Tigers to see how he develops.
While loan moves can often signal the end of a player’s Wigan career - Logan Tomkins and Jack Hughes have both departed this year after spells away - there are other examples of players returning. Greg Burke, for example, spent last season at Hull KR but has been offered a chance to stake a first-team place at his hometown club in 2016.
Academy-product Hampshire scored four tries in 15 appearances for Wigan last season, mainly from full-back when Bowen’s form dipped.
The 20-year-old is also able to play at halfback, where Castleford plan to use him - as cover for first-choice pairing Luke Gale and Ben Roberts - following Liam Finn’s move to Wakefield.
England internationals Matty Smith and George Williams are settled in the halfback roles at Wigan, with bench hooker Sam Powell providing cover.
Shaun Wane also has Jake Shorrocks emerging through the ranks - he has been promoted to the senior squad this year - and Lewis Tierney is among those who can cover for full-back Tomkins if needed.
Hampshire, who hails from Yorkshire, turns 21 before the New Year and the prospect of more first-team action should appeal.
Meanwhile, Warriors Under-19s centre Liam Forsyth has joined Bath RU club on an 18-month deal.
Bath head coach Mike Ford, an ex-Wigan No.7, said: “Liam is a very skilful player, but he’s also a physically gifted young lad. He’s played a season of rugby union before, so it won’t be too much of a learning curve for him.”
“He’s joining a group of very talented young English players here at the club. Watching them develop together here is very exciting.”