Nine players missing for Wildcats trip

Liam Farrell was cited for striking with the knees
Liam Farrell was cited for striking with the knees

Shaun Wane could be without NINE front-line players for Wigan’s next game.

Just last Friday night the Warriors boss spoke of his hopes that their injury woes were easing – but that prediction now looks to have been premature.

Wane was told yesterday none of those currently sidelined are expected to be back in the reckoning in time for Sunday’s game at resurgent Wakefield.

And two players from the squad which went down 28-16 to Warrington are expected to be ruled out.

Captain Sean O’Loughlin is a major doubt with a minor hamstring injury which forced him to leave the action early, and fellow England forward Liam Farrell is facing a ban. He was cited by the RFL’s disciplinary yesterday and charged with the grade B offence of striking with the knees.

It follows the first-half incident when he slid in late on Wolves try-scorer Stefan Ratchford, which resulted in a rare ‘eight-point try’ – the Wolves took a penalty from in front of the posts immediately after the conversion.

The grade B charge carries a suggested punishment scale of one or two games.

Farrell has until 10am today to enter an early guilty plea, which would ensure he gets the minimum suspension.

Wane had hoped both John Bateman (head knock) and Ben Flower (leg) would be fit to return to his squad this week.

But he said: “The last report I had told me John may need another week off, and I’d say Ben is 90 per cent not playing. We’ll know more later in the week.”

He hopes both may be fit the following week. The other five players sidelined are Sam Tomkins, Micky McIlorum, Dom Crosby, Anthony Gelling and George Williams.

Wane said: “A lot of the players we have out aren’t that far away, so it will be easing, but it’s probably not going to be in time for this week.”

Hooker McIlorum – out for the season – is the only one not expected to play soon.

Both Crosby and Tomkins are nearing a return to full fitness, Gelling has a knee injury which is expected to keep him out for at least three weeks, and stand-off Williams is still out with a back problem.

“We’re continuing to monitor George,” said Wane. “It could be tomorrow, it could be four weeks, it’s hard to say.”

Teenagers Nick Gregson and Jack Higginson could hang onto their places. Lewis Tierney may also come back into the frame.

Wane gave the players a long weekend off to recover from the bruises of the gruelling Easter schedule.