HEAD coach Michael Maguire hopes his Wigan squad will be bolstered by the return of three match-winners for the second part of the season.
Gareth Hock’s return from a two-year doping ban will generate the headlines this week.
And Maguire is also keeping his fingers crossed that two other seasoned performers – Amos Roberts and Stuart Fielden – can help propel Wigan towards Super League and Challenge Cup glory.
Roberts [right] has struggled to break into the side this season as he continues his long rehab from a serious knee injury.
But he returned to the team to face Castleford earlier this month and Maguire revealed that the live-wire Australian has only now fully recovered from the effects of an horrific knee injury which derailed his sparkling 2010 campaign last Easter.
Maguire said: “The week before last was the first time that Amos has felt 100 per cent with his knee.
“He’s had a tough ride there since last year when he had that awful injury, wrapping his knee around the post. But he’s showing some good signs now, in training, of what he was doing before the injury.
“He’s a very capable player, he’s working hard to get back to where he was.”
Maguire admits Roberts now needs to build up his confidence in the joint after such a lengthy lay-off and recovery period.
“Every injury is different and people react differently but it was a bad one,” he said.
“Amos is a finely-tuned athlete and it’s taken longer than we expected, but he’s back now and hopefully we’ll see some good signs of what he can do.”
Maguire can also expect to welcome Test prop Fielden back within the next three weeks.
The 31-year-old has played just one match this term – against former club Bradford in round two – before being sidelined by a knee injury that needed surgery.
“Stuey is probably three to four weeks away,” the coach said. “But he’s improving quickly so we may even get him back earlier than that.”
Wigan’s only other injury absentee is front-rower Eamon O’Carroll, who has not played for more than a year.
Maguire added: “We’re cautious not to put a timeline on that, we’re doing the right thing with Eamon because it’s been close to 12 months since he last played.
“He’s coming across well and he is doing well.”