SHAUN Wane has told his players to prepare for a test of their mental strength as Wigan begin the defence of their Challenge Cup.
The coach has rubbished suggestions the outcome of tonight’s game at Championship outfit Dewsbury is a foregone conclusion.
Having undergone a scare at Featherstone two years ago, Wane is determined not to take the Rams lightly.
He said: “This is a big mentality thing for us.
“If you go through the teams, player on player, we should win the game.
“But it doesn’t always go that way. We need to be stubborn and execute as best we can.
“We realise they’ve got everything to gain. This is their Cup final, so we will show them the respect they deserve.
“On any one day they can have a dig, the bounce of the ball can go their way, and we don’t want to give them any confidence with what we do.
“That’s why I’m going with a very experienced team, I don’t want to put any more pressure on ourselves (by resting players).
“We have to go into the game with a good mentality.
“It’s not the most welcoming place, it’s a small ground, it suits them immensely because they’ve got a big set of middles.
“We need to have a different game plan but I’m very confident with the way we play and the way we defend, that if we run hard, we’ll get the win.”
Wigan have England hooker Michael McIlorum back from suspension for the start of their trophy defence but Australian full-back Matty Bowen must wait to make his Challenge Cup debut after Wane opted to rest him.
Ryan Hampshire will take Bowen’s spot, while Dan Sarginson replaces the rested Darrell Goulding.
Rams captain Wayne Godwin returns from injury to take his place in the side.
He played for Wigan between 2005-6 and joined the Championship outfit in the off-season after leaving Salford.
Another ex-Warrior, Karl Pryce, is also expected to play for the 500-1 outsiders, along with former Hull FC Challenge Cup winner Ewan Dowes.
Dewsbury coach Glenn Morrison – a former Bradford team-mate of Wigan assistant coach Paul Deacon – said: “The boys are excited about running out against one of the best sides in the world, and I am looking forward to seeing how we go.
“We’ve got some young boys who have aspirations to play Super League and they’ve a chance to test themselves against one of the best teams in the world. It’s going to be exciting to see how they go.
“Getting this draw has been perfect for us. It’s brought a lot of publicity for the club and we’re hoping for a 3,500 crowd.
“It’s like a Cup final for us and the players will go out there determined to do themselves proud.
“We’ve nothing to lose. They hold the trophy and they’ll want to hang onto it.
“We’ll go out there and make sure they earn their right to go through to the next round.
“We’ll make sure they know they’ve been in the game.”