PAUL Prescott is hoping to blast back into the first-team frame this weekend – and help propel Wigan one step closer to Wembley.
The prop missed last Friday’s 54-6 demolition of Harlequins because of a back injury, but expects to be fully fit for Challenge Cup duty on Sunday.
Wigan travel to struggling Bradford in a fifth round tie (kick-off 3.30pm), with a place in the last eight up for grabs.
And Prescott expects them to go into the encounter with all guns blazing to ensure their bid to reach the final for the first time since 2004 is not derailed in front of the BBC cameras.
The 25-year-old said: “I had a niggling back injury last week and we decided to give it a rest before this weekend, because we’re approaching this Cup game with the intention of doing a really professional job.
“The most important thing is obviously to get the result because it’s do or die, but we also want to put in a good performance.
“We want to maintain our standards all year, the last thing we want to do is let them dip, especially not in such an important game.”
Academy-product Prescott is now in his eighth season in the first-team, and recently signed an extension that ties him to the club until the end of 2012, with a further one-year option in the club’s favour.
“It was a pretty simple decision to make,” he said. “There were a few offers but we’re a really tight team, we’re going in the right direction and who would want to leave?
“I laugh when I get called a ‘youngster’ because this is my eighth season in the team.
“I made by debut in 2004 and a lot has happened since then.
“A core of players like myself, Harrison Hansen, Joel (Tomkins) and Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin) went through some bad times for a couple of seasons, and now we’re challenging for honours, and I want to see it through.”
Prescott – an ever-present this year until last weekend – is an unsung hero of Michael Maguire’s squad and his good form earned him selection in the England elite training squad earlier this year.
He and the other international players spent two days at a camp in Loughborough last week ahead of a match against the Exiles next month.
Prescott added: “It was good to get to know the other lads.
“It was mainly about team building and we did a couple of field session as well, to get to know the structures that Steve McNamara wants.”