Prescott a big doubt for opener

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PAUL Prescott is a doubt for the start of the Super League season following a back operation.

The prop went under the knife to cure a minor problem and has been ruled out of all four of Wigan’s friendlies this month.

But coach Shaun Wane has stressed that he is on course to make a full recovery by early February.

And though that could see the front-rower sit out the season opener against Huddersfield at the DW Stadium on February 5, he should be in the frame for a return to action the following week. Wane said: “Paul’s had a small operation on his back.

“It wasn’t anything major, but he probably won’t be fit for the opening game against Huddersfield.

“Hopefully he’ll be okay the following week. We’ll obviously have a clearer idea closer to the time.”

Wane will still have plenty of options for his front-row spots in Prescott’s absence.

Lee Mossop, Jeff Lima and new-boys Gil Dudson and Epalahame Lauaki are all fully fit and keen to impress, while Welsh forward Ben Flower has played in the front-row before.

Prescott, who turned 26 on New Year’s Day, figured 29 times for the Warriors last season and earned the No.8 shirt for the new campaign – incredibly, his ninth in the first-team.

He is one of three players set to miss Wigan’s start to the new season – Australian winger Amos Roberts (knee) and prop Stuart Fielden (bicep) are recovering from injuries.

They are also out of the friendlies against Hull KR (January 15), Huddersfield (19th) and Salford (24th), as well as the game at Leigh (27th) which is expected to feature a team of fringe first-teamers and Under-20s.

The U20s also travel to Barrow on Jan 14.

Hull KR yesterday announced that Wigan fans who have bought tickets for the friendly at Craven Park on Sunday week will be sat in the Roger Millward Stand – and not the North Stand, as originally stated.

The switch is owing to maintenance work. Existing tickets are still valid.