Shaun Wane admits he has reservations about risking Sam Tomkins ahead of Wigan’s trip to Widnes on Thursday.
The coach’s marquee signing has been in stellar form since returning to the fold last month from a lengthy lay-off following knee surgery in the off season.
But, after showing signs of swelling after last Friday’s win at Hull KR, Wane says he will need convincing to let Tomkins play at the Select Security Stadium, which has an artificial ‘i-pitch’.
“Possibly not,” said Wane when asked if he would risk the full-back. “He won’t be because he had a bit of swelling after the game. If he’s 100 per cent and the physio’s convinced me he’s 100 per cent then he’ll play, but if not then Lewis (Tierney) will play and I’m quite chilled out about that.”
Tomkins has never appeared at Widnes since the installation of the i-pitch in 2012. He was rested for the 37-36 loss that year, and also didn’t appear there in his final season before moving to the NRL, which was a 33-32 win in 2013.
Wigan have invested a lot of patience in ensuring Tomkins was fully fit before bringing him into the side on his return to the club.
Although citing swelling as the reason for potentially resting Tomkins, Wane concedes Widnes’ surface isn’t ideal.
“We’ve been training on an artificial pitch at Central Park but it’s not good for our players,” he said. “For many, many weeks to train on grass then switch, you end up with groin problems, hip problems so you can’t practice it.”
Tierney was thrust into the squad last Friday at the last minute following a quad injury to Dan Sarginson in the warm-up, and impressed Wane enough to convince the coach he can step in again on Thursday.
“The way he jumped in that game was fantastic,” said Wane.
Sarginson is expected to be fit, but Wane is still without Sean O’Loughlin and long-term absentees Liam Farrell, Tony Clubb and Michael McIlorum, although he will still tweak his squad.
“Not every player will play in this game,” he said. “We’re going to make a few changes.”
Josh Charnley and Joel Tomkins have both been charged with the ‘Grade A’ offence of a dangerous throw on Hull KR’s James Greenwood.
Meanwhile, Warriors are still to make an announcement on the availability of forward John Bateman as club investigations into a town centre incident drag into a third week.