Wane: My worst ever injury crisis

Wigan Warriors' Jordan James in action against Hull FC

Wigan Warriors' Jordan James in action against Hull FC

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YOUNG-guns Connor Farrell and Ben Austin could be in line to make their debuts tomorrow after Wigan’s injury woes deepened ahead of their Magic showdown with Leeds.

Jordan James has been ruled out with a bulging neck disc and both Scott Taylor and Gil Dudson are battling training ground injuries.

Wane will give the latter two until tomorrow morning to prove their fitness, but if they are ruled out, it will leave Dom Crosby as their only recognised prop for the Etihad showdown.

In a best case scenario, Wane is missing eight front-line players – six of them international forwards.

But he also has major doubts on the fitness of seven other players.

Farrell, younger brother of Liam, and forward Austin have been on the edges for some time – and now may get their chance in front of the Sky Sports cameras and an expected 35,000 Etihad crowd.

Wane said: “This is the worst I’ve known it since I’e been with the first-team.

“We’ve looked at the injuries and there’s no pattern to them, they’re different types of injuries, it’s just a case of bad luck.

“But this isn’t a Challenge Cup Final or a Grand Final – nothing is won or lost on Saturday –and I’m excited about what the young players can do. My only concern is from a player welfare point of view – ideally I’d like to control when I bring them in against weaker opposition and surrounded by more senior player – but the injuries have taken that control from me.

“But we were under the pump at Hull last week and we got a good win. This is a Wigan team playing Leeds – they’ll be having a good dig, I can promise that.”

Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Farrell, Josh Charnley, Iain Thornley, Ben Flower, Matty Bowen, Eddie Pettybourne, Greg Burke and Ryan Hampshire all missed last Friday’s 44-16 win at Hull.

They were joined on the injury list by Tony Clubb and youngster Ryan Sutton, who was concussed at the KC. Sutton will undergo a cognitive test tomorrow, and George Williams twisted his ankle and is also a major doubt.

The only splinter of light amid the gloom is the possibility Bowen and Greg Burke may return.

Full-back Bowen will train today, and if he receives the green-light it would allow Dan Sarginson to return to the centre role and Anthony Gelling to bolster the depleted back-row.

Burke may return from a dislocated shoulder but he is under-done, having only played once this year, on loan at Bradford.