SHAUN Wane is seeking home comforts as Wigan prepare for their first match at the DW Stadium in nearly two months.
The Super League pace-setters host Castleford seeking to stretch their advantage at the top of the ladder to five points.
Blake Green, Mike McIlorum and Gil Dudson should return from injury – and Wane is set to hand a home debut to Lewis Tierney in place of the injured full-back Sam Tomkins.
Owing to a quirk in the fixtures, the Warriors haven’t played at the DW since thrashing Salford on May 3 and Wane is looking forward to getting back in more familiar surroundings.
He said: “It’s good to get back in front of our fans, on a nice pitch and with a good atmosphere.
“The fans will get behind us and it’s nice to be back.”
Castleford are 12th in the ladder and tonight’s fixture does not have the same Box Office appeal as last Monday night’s thriller against Warrington.
Wane, though, says the Tigers pose a real threat and pointed to their improvement under new coach Daryl Powell - they beat Hull FC 30-28 last Friday - and the impressive form of stand-off Rangi Chase.
“They’ll come confident,” said Wane.
“They are playing really well. They beat Hull last week and Hull are a quality team, so it will be challenge but we work hard as staff and our players will know how to beat Castelford and stop them attacking the way they do.
“Rangi Chase is playing out of his skin.
“He would be a threat in any team – he’s a great player. A lot of the time Castelford players don’t know what he’s going to do and I don’t think Rangi does, he’s very hard to get hold of. His skills with his hands are superb so he is their main threat.
“They hit hard and wrestle good. Daryl Powell has brought some steel into their defence so that will be another test for us but with our starting halves back we’ll be hitting our straps.
“They have some quality players - but so have we, so it will be a great game.”
Tierney is set to make his home bow after an encouraging debut at Widnes earlier this month, in place for Tomkins.
Lee Mossop is also out, but Welsh prop Dudson should return from a neck problem in a like-for-like replacement.
Green and McIlorum are also back but Wane is still without Sean O’Loughlin, Epa Lauaki, Ben Flower, Chris Tuson, Iain Thorney and Paul Prescott.
“All the doom and gloom merchants look at the negatives,” said Wane.
“It seems tough to the outside person with the injuries we’ve got but there is a positive in the future of the club.
“The fact is all those young kids come in a do a great job and they get in the habit of winning games. We have a few people out injured and they’ll be back for those games later on.
“In the long run it will do us good.
“People like Sean O’Loughlin, who has had a knee operation, he has rested his body for two months, so although it’s tough at the minute it will be a positive come the end of the road when he returns refreshed.”
Kick-off is 8pm, and the referee is Phil Bentham.