CAPTAIN Sean O’Loughlin is a major doubt for Friday’s clash against Catalan.
Shaun Wane admits he will be down to the bare-bones in the pack if the loose-forward fails a fitness test tomorrow.
O’Loughlin suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday’s 28-22 win at Castleford.
Chris Tuson (hip) and Dom Crosby (concussion) also suffered knocks, but are expected to play.
But O’Loughlin’s hopes of playing are hanging in the balance and Wane said yesterday: “I’ll assess Lockers in our final training session
“But he couldn’t train today and he doesn’t miss many sessions. I may have to make some changes.”
The anxious wait over O’Loughlin’s availability could hardly have come at a worse time, with Wane’s pack already depleted by injuries.
Tom Spencer’s return from his loan spell at Leigh could cover for Crosby if he is ruled out by a head test.
But Wane is still without senior front-rowers Lee Mossop, Paul Prescott and Epa Lauaki and forwards Harrison Hansen and Anthony Gelling – injuries which arrived soon after Gareth Hock’s loan move to Widnes.
Furthermore, the knock-on-effect of centre Darrell Goulding’s absence through sickness has effectively robbed Wane of another second-rower, with Jack Hughes providing cover in the three-quarters.
Goulding is expected to return next week but is unlikely to face Catalan – which should keep Greg Burke, 20, in the squad as back-up from the bench, with Liam Farrell and Tuson starting.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do if Lockers doesn’t play,” admitted Wane, whose most obvious option would be to include Welsh forward Rhodri Lloyd.
“When I wrote down what was happening if we get more injuries... we’re doing it tough. But nothing will change in terms of preparation and attitude.
“Whether it’s Rhodri Lloyd or Greg Burke or my first chocie, nothing changes in terms of what I expect.”
Wane has never moaned about Wigan’s luck with injuries, and has frequently praised youngsters such as Burke for stepping up.
But he admits he has concerns about exposing them to too much, too soon if the situation doesn’t improve.
“It’s just when you’re continually asking them to get up to this level – I need the luxury of being able to take them out the firing line, and I don’t have that right now,” said Wane, who will name his 19-man squad today.
He admits he has scoured the Super League and NRL for available players to bolster