Maguire says focus is on the Bulls

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MICHAEL Maguire says he will resist the temptation to wrap any of his key players in cotton-wool ahead of their World Club Challenge date.

Wigan take on Bradford Bulls on Sunday, just a week before their much-anticipated showdown with Australian champions St George-Illawarra.

Three front-line players – Pat Richards, Brett Finch and Pat Richards – are already out of the WCC clash at the DW Stadium.

And with Maguire planning to field his strongest available line-up against Bradford, Warriors will be keeping their fingers crossed that no other players pick up injuries – or suspensions – this weekend.

Asked whether he would be resting any key players on Sunday, the Australian coach said: “Definitely not.

“It’s an important game for us, every one is.

“We’re aware that we’ve got the World Club Challenge around the corner, but all the focus is on this weekend only.

“We’ve got to make sure we perform, there’s no point looking forward to the next week. For now it’s all about this weekend.”

Maguire was concerned with some areas of Wigan’s performance in their opening game of the season against St Helens six days ago, when Warriors took a 16-0 lead only to let it slip in the final quarter.

Saints scored 16 points of their own through three tries to level the scores, and Maguire wants to go into the WCC on the back of a good performance – even if that means risking key players.

He will name his squad today and is hopeful that halfback Paul Deacon, who suffered concussion against Saints, will pass a mandatory ‘head test’ this lunch-time.

Former Bradford star Stuart Fielden is likely to come in for the banned Jeff Lima, while Amos Roberts is back in the frame.

The game should not lack spice after Potter accused Wigan of employing “questionable tackle techniques”. It is the first time a coach has voiced his disapproval of Warriors this season though Wakefield’s John Kear and Hull FC’s Richard Agar were among their critics last season.

Potter told BBC Radio Leeds: “I think they are still using some questionable tackle techniques.

“It’s just a case of doing the best you can against that. I think the governing bodies are on to it and looking at it. It’s just very hard to see on a field.

“Other clubs could use the same tactics but that comes down to the ethics you want to have at your club

“It’s tempting, but if you are potentially going to injure people by doing it then it’s not an option and not the way to go for me.

“If they are doing the wrong thing then penalise it. Stamp it out of the game.

“It’s just very hard to see on a field sometimes.”

Wigan have not responded to the criticism.