WARRINGTON prop Paul Wood has emerged as a shock transfer target for Wigan.
Shaun Wane has been scouring the NRL and Super League for available players who can strengthen his pack this season.
And Wigan-born Wood, 31, is understood to be on the radar.
Rumours of the Warriors’ interest surfaced late on Sunday night, and yesterday a source close to the player said a move could be on the cards.
A strong-running front-rower, Wood hit the headlines last year by playing for 20 minutes in the Grand Final with a ruptured testicle which was later removed.
He didn’t return the Evening Post’s calls yesterday. Wane is expected to face questions about interest in Wood at today’s scheduled press conference, though in the past he has kept his cards close to his chest about potential signings.
Ironically, Wigan face Warrington this Friday night in a Sky Sports-televised blockbuster – which could mean any deal is delayed until after this weekend.
But Wood is thought to be available.
He has spent his entire professional career at Warrington and a move to his hometown club may appeal.
Furthermore, he started the new Super League season out of Tony Smith’s first-team fold, playing for Championship outfit Swinton in front of 400 fans on dual-registration last Sunday.
Wane has not commented on Wood but admitted last week he was keeping an eye out for players who could bolster his squad – insisting he would not be rushed into making a panic buy.
He has been forced to look at the possibility of recruiting after Gareth Hock’s departure to Widnes was quickly followed by injuries to Harrison Hansen, Chris Tuson and Epa Lauaki.
And while it is in the back-row – not the front-row – where he is struggling for numbers, Welshman Ben Flower can drop back to cover.
Wood found himself splashed across the tabloids at the end of last year for his relationship with glamour model Holly Henderson.
Yesterday, in an interview with The Sun, he admitted he has been “swamped by suicidal thoughts” as he battles depression, and admitted he is seeing a psychiatrist.
“Some mornings I couldn’t get out of bed and just pulled the duvet over me, sobbing like a baby,” he said.