Shaun Wane has expressed his frustration at not being able to ease Tony Clubb back into action.
The nine-game reserve campaign finished earlier this month, leaving nowhere for players like Clubb to play – other than in Super League.
Wane had hoped the prop would be fit for Thursday’s home clash against Widnes.
But after an absence of three-months, during which time he underwent major neck surgery, Wane decided to leave him out of his 19-man squad.
And he said: “We’ve not been able to get enough work into Clubby.
“There’s no setback or anything, he should be fit to play next week (at Hull FC).
“It’d be a big ask to put him in, in such a big game, but unfortunately there’s no reserve games to ease him back in.
“We talk about player welfare, yet I’ve got a player coming back from a big injury and I’ve nowhere to play him.
“I wish the reserve fixtures were still going in. They showed me a lot about players – and it gave me somewhere for players who need game-time, like Clubby, to play.”
Sean O’Loughlin has also been left out of the 19-man squad after failing to overcome a hamstring injury.
Wane says he should be fit within the next two weeks.
He has stuck with the same provisional squad which beat St Helens 25-0 in their last outing.
A victory on Thursday night, in front of the Sky Sports cameras, would send them level with leaders Hull FC on points ahead of their trip to fourth-placed St Helens.
Greg Burke, who left Wigan in mid-season, is one of six ex-Warriors in the Widnes squad.
Tickets start from £22 for adults and £15 concessions and juniors.
Wigan’s 19-man squad: John Bateman, Joe Bretherton, Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Oliver Gildart, Willie Isa, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Jake Shorrocks, Matty Smith, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Lewis Tierney, Sam Tomkins, George Williams.
Widnes’ 19-man squad: Kevin Brown, Greg Burke, Jack Buchanan, Hep Cahill, Jay Chapelhow, Chris Dean, Gil Dudscon, Connor Farrell, Tom Gilmore, Rhys Hanbury, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Macgraff Leuluai, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Charly Runciman, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley.