SHAUN Wane admits he faces a “balancing act” this week.
The Warriors begin the defence of their Challenge Cup with a visit to Championship outfit Dewsbury this Friday night.
With the bulk of the Rams squad comprised of part-time players, Wigan’s passage to the fifth round of the historic competition is seen by many as a foregone conclusion.
It affords Wane a chance to rest some of his front-line players - and at the same time offer his fringe players an opportunity.
But he is unlikely to make sweeping changes and must decide who, and how many, of his senior figures he takes out of the firing line without risking disrupting the team.
“I want to win the game, and I want to win it well,” said Wane.
“The Challenge Cup means a lot to us, we want to defend it and the thing is about these games which is exciting is it’s sudden-death all the way.
“It’s finding a balance of who you need to play and for how many minutes, and there’s a lot goes into it it terms of sports science, and who needs a rest.
“It’s a case of finding a fine balance.”
With the Under-19s competition restricted to teenagers, Wigan’s dual-registration arrangement with Workington has at least allowed the club to give fringe players game-time.
First-team forwards Jack Hughes, Jordan James and Gil Dudson all played yesterday - ironically at Dewsbury - in a38-16 defeat for Town, though Dudson did cross for a try after coming off the bench.
The one exception is Kiwi utility Anthony Gelling, who - like all overseas players - is prevented from playing on loan or dual-registration because of visa restrictions.
He may be handed a chance this Friday, having only made one appearance this season.
Sam Powell is back from an ankle injury but may be given another week before being considered.
While he may tinker with his squad, Wane insists they will not change their pre-match routine before facing a Rams outfit coached by former Bradford forward Glenn Morrison.
“It’ll be exactly the same in terms of preparation - we’ve already looked at footage of them, we’ll do our homework like it was any other Super League team,” added Wane.
“In terms of the state of the pitch and the changing rooms, we can’t prepare them for that! But apart from that, we’ll turn up and be professional.”
l WIGAN’S Under-19s had no game last weekend.