Tomkins and Bateman on course to return this week

John Bateman hasn't played since February
John Bateman hasn't played since February

Sam Tomkins and John Bateman are on course to make their eagerly-awaited returns to the Wigan team this weekend, Shaun Wane confirmed last night.

The Warriors head to Warrington for a crunch Challenge Cup quarter-final tie on Saturday.

And Wane hopes to call on SIX key players who missed Thursday’s 50-34 defeat at Leigh.

After that game, he said he had yet to decide whether to bring England internationals Tomkins and Bateman back at the same time following lengthy injury lay-offs.

But after seeing them emerge from a physical opposed session unscathed at the weekend, he has revealed he plans to bring them in - if they complete training this week without any setbacks.

Full-back Tomkins has not played since last September because of a broken foot while forward Bateman needed shoulder surgery following the World Club Challenge win in February.

Wane said: “They’ve trained really well, we’ve had a game of scrimmage and they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them.

“Your top-level players can come back after a lay-off and perform - look at Sean O’Loughlin in the Grand Final, he hadn’t played in weeks and he looked like he’d never been away.

“Both John and Sam are top players, they’d be an asset to any side and it’ll be good to have them back.

“John was the best middle in the competition, everybody recognises that he’s a great player. Even having him in meetings and in training again just gives everyone a lift.

“Same with Sam. He’s a fantastic individual and he’s a player we’ve missed a lot.

“They’ll train this week and if they are alright to play, they’ll probably play.”

Captain Sean O’Loughlin (hamstring), Liam Farrell (suspension), Anthony Gelling (lower-leg) and Sam Powell (concussion) will also be available again.

Tomkins is set to replace Lewis Tierney at full-back, while the likes of Jack Wells, Liam Forsyth, Romain Navarrete and Josh Ganson would also look likely to miss out.

“It’ll be good to have some competition for places again, it’s something we’ve not really had for most of this year,” added Wane.