Tomkins “desperate” to play

Sam Tomkins hasn't played since September
Sam Tomkins hasn't played since September

Sam Tomkins is “desperate” to get back onto the pitch this weekend.

The Wigan full-back is set to make his long-awaited return to action in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final at Warrington.

The 28-year-old has been out since breaking his right foot last September and missing the club’s Super League Grand Final success, England’s Four Nations campaign and the World Club Challenge.

Tomkins, who rejoined the club last year after a spell with New Zealand Warriors, had initially hoped to return in April but suffered a setback which required further surgery.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, coach Shaun Wane said today: “It was a bad injury. There are a lot of bones in the foot and when trying to plate it there were a lot of potential problems.

“For him to come through is a credit to our medical department. The way he’s been in training has been unbelievable.”

Wane admitted the extra surgery, to remove a plate that had been fitted earlier, was tough for Tomkins to deal with but is confident he can now put it behind him.

He said: “He has been in a shocking place. These lads are born to play and whack each other and be physical each week. That’s all they’ve ever done. When you tell them they can’t play for 12 months it’s hard.

“He was ready to go three months ago but then had a setback. It’s been tough for him mentally but he’s just desperate to play. That’s his life. Now he can see the end of the road and he’s in a great mood.”

Forward John Bateman could also feature after three months out with a shoulder injury while Anthony Gelling, Sam Powell and Sean O’Loughlin are both back in contention after lay-offs, and Liam Farrell is available after suspension.

The Warrington clash has taken on extra importance after a run of just one win in eight games, but Wane insists players are not being rushed back.

He said: “They are all 100 per cent ready to go - but it is an important game though.”