McIlorum doubts he will return this year

Micky McIlorum on the opening day against Catalans, before injury struck
Micky McIlorum on the opening day against Catalans, before injury struck

Micky McIlorum has all but surrendered hope of playing again this season.

The hooker hasn’t played since breaking his ankle in the World Club Series loss to Brisbane in February.

McIlorum had targeted a return to action before the end of this Super 8s campaign.

Those hopes swelled when he started running a month ago.

But the 28-year-old admits the recovery since then has not gone as quickly as he had wanted.

And with only four games left – starting with Thursday’s visit of Widnes – before a play-offs match and a potential Grand Final on October 8, he may be beaten by the clock.

McIlorum said: “I think I’ll be struggling for this season.

“I was hoping to get back in the next couple of weeks, but I think time is running out.

“The surgeon says it’s going to plan, and that I can’t rush it because it was a traumatic injury, but it’s not going as quick as I want it to!

“I’d set targets in my head that probably aren’t realistic, so I’ve probably made it tough for myself, but that’s my mindset – I just want to be back as soon as I can and help the boys out.”

Having sat out the majority of the season as Wigan, McIlorum says the frustration has grown since the season split for the Super 8s phase.

“Because that was around the time I started running, and I think it’s the last 10 per cent which will be the toughest part,” he said. “It’s a case of so close, but so far.” He is one of three players out for the year, along with forward Joel Tomkins and winger Dom Manfredi.

But otherwise, Shaun Wane has a strong roster to choose from – including fit-again duo Tony Clubb and Sean O’Loughlin.

Sam Powell has covered the No.9 duties in McIlorum’s absence, and helped the Warriors climb to third in the Super League ladder.

Wane has his sights on overtaking Challenge Cup finalists Warrington and Hull FC and claiming the league leaders’ shield – which comes with a £100,000 prize fund for the club – and a home semi-final.

McIlorum has used the extra time off to plan events for his testimonial season in 2017, to celebrate his decade in the Warriors first-team.

“If ever there was a good time to break my leg, this was it - there’s a lot to sort out,” smiled the Yorkshireman. “It doesn’t seem two minutes since my debut, it’s quite scary how quickly it has gone.”

McIlorum recently flew to Errea’s base in Italy to oversee the design of a special testimonial shirt, and has planned race and golf days, and dinners in Cumbria, Wigan and Manchester.

Sponsorship opportunities and details are at his website mmc9.co.uk.

Meanwhile, Wigan stand-off George Williams has been shortlisted for the First:Utility Super League player of the month award for a second consecutive time.

He is joined by Jack Buchanan (Widnes), Danny Houghton (Hull FC), Denny Solomona (Castleford) and Alex Walmsley (St Helens) on the shortlist for the August prize.

Fans can vote via the First Utility Super League Facebook page, until 12pm on September 2, and the two players with the most votes will then be considered by a judging panel.