Adrian Lam welcomes back trio of experienced props to Wigan Warriors side
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Tony Clubb is set to play his first game in seven months when the Warriors take on Salford tonight after recovering from a spinal injury.
And marquee recruit George Burgess and injury-hit Ben Flower were also included in the provisional 21-man squad.
Lam made no promises all three will play but says their availability has widened his front-row options – and given him a chance to find the “right balance” of experience and youth.
“The players who have been in there have done a good job but it’s certainly nice to get some experience in there as well,” said the coach.
“There’s no substitute for experience and we’ve not really had that.
“So you throw in those players who have been there and done it, and we’ll have to balance the formula between experience and youth. That’ll be the difficult part.
“I’m excited we’ve got a selection of players to pick from, we’ve not been in this position all year.”
Burgess has been nursing a troublesome hip injury for the past few weeks and Lam admits it has been a frustrating time for the ex-Souths front-rower.
“It’s been a tough time for him since he’s arrived,” said Lam. “Whether he plays this week, the next week, the week after, we’ll make that decision, but we’ve been working hard with him and he’s a popular member of the squad.”
Oliver Gildart and Joe Burgess also return though captain Sean O’Loughlin is resting a hamstring strain and misses tonight’s match against Salford, who won their last meeting 18-14 just before lockdown.
Adrian Lam plans talks over his own future“Salford have been courageous all year, what they’ve done as a club has been exceptional,” added Lam.
“They’re in most games to the death, if they lose it’s not by much, they had a chance to win the game last weekend.”
Ian Watson, coach of the beaten Challenge Cup finalists, is urging his players not to let their standards drop when they return to league action.
The 2019 Grand Final runners-up have had little time to lick their wounds from their Wembley defeat as they prepare to take on Wigan in the opening game of the double-header at St Helens.
“Obviously we had a massive disappointment at the weekend but we got over it pretty quickly,” Watson acknowledged.
“Our mentality is that we’re going to play against Wigan to win.
“We spoke about the fact we’re not going to get many sessions in now with three games more or less every week until we finish. It’s a different challenge because obviously when we finished the Grand Final there was no game.
“After the Challenge Cup final, it probably felt like the end of the season a little bit so we all had a chat about that and where we’ve got to as a team.”