JOSH Charnley is set to come in from the cold on Wednesday night.
The England World Cup winger is in the frame for a return to the Warriors team to face Widnes – as the champions chase a victory which would propel them top of the Super League ladder.
Charnley – Super League’s top tryscorer for the last two years – has not played since suffering a knee injury in April.
Now fit again, Charnley was due to play for Workington, on dual-registration, yesterday but was withdrawn to keep him fresh for Wednesday night’s rearranged round two clash.
His opportunity has opened up after Shaun Wane left boom teenage flyer Joe Burgess to attend the England mid-season training camp this week.
Wane said: “I’m planning to play Josh this week.
“He’s showed some good form for me in the past and he’s earned his call-up. I’m looking forward to seeing him play, and see how he goes.”
Not long ago, Charnley would have appeared nailed-on for an automatic return to the team once he was fit – such is his pedigree and profile.
But Wane has been delighted with the form of Burgess and Dom Manfredi, and made it clear he would have to earn his chance. “I’ve spoken to Josh, and he knows he needs to perform because I’ve been very happy with ‘Budgie’ and Dom,” he added.
Burgess is the only one of Wigan’s nine players in the England training squad who are attending the camp in Loughborough. Assistant coach Paul Deacon and player performance manager Mark Bitcon have also joined national head coach Steve McNamara, who has flown over from Sydney to lead the three-day camp.
Wane said: “Budgie doesn’t lack confidence, but it’ll be good for him to mix in those circles and be in that environment.
“It’s unfortunate timing that we have this game and all of our players can’t go, because it’s great for them and for the club that we’ve got so many in the England squad, but it’s just the way it fell.”
Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Farrell, Charnley, Mike McIlorum, Matty Smith, John Bateman and Scott Taylor were also included by McNamara.
Meanwhile, Wane hopes to discover today the full extent of Ryan Hampshire’s injury – and a likely timeframe – after he dislocated his shoulder in Friday’s 46-6 mauling of Castleford. Matty Bowen’s leg injury is not serious, but he won’t play against Widnes.
Dan Sarginson is expected to cover the full-back role for the second time – he scored a hat-trick in that position at Hull FC – with Darrell Goulding replacing him at centre. Forward Connor Farrell, younger brother of Liam, may come into the reckoning.
With league leaders St Helens losing 42-0 at Catalan on Saturday, third-placed Wigan –two points behind their derby rivals – would move top of the pile with victory on Wednesday, owing to a superior for and against.
l Former Wigan rugby league Chief Scout Derek Standish has passed away.
Standish was responsible for bringing a long line of talent through the ranks.