Bevan French has been 'flying' in training ahead of Wigan Warriors return
Bevan French has been “flying” in training and ready to make his eagerly-awaited return to the Wigan side.
But coach Adrian Lam will give the jet-heeled Australia time to settle back into the side when he makes his first appearance of the year tomorrow night.
French is in the Wigan line-up which hosts Castleford (kick-off 6pm), a week after his expected return to action was delayed.
“He had a bit of a twinge in his lower back last week and there was no rush to bring him back and put him under pressure,” said Lam.
“He’s had another week to get himself right and he’s been flying so far.
“He’s hitting the targets in terms of the loads and the sports science side, those targets are telling us he’s ready to play.
“Like anyone else at the start of the season, it always took me six weeks to get my form back, so I wouldn’t assume Bevan will play his best in game one - but, this is Bevan French remember.
“He might come out and score a hat-trick... fingers crossed he does, and he hits the ground running.”
Lam wouldn’t reveal which position French will occupy, other than to say: “He’s going to play in the backline.”
He could bring French in at full-back and switch Zak Hardaker to his old centre role.
Alternatively he could keep Hardaker at full-back and ease French back in from the wing.
Given Lam has two forwards playing centre and 18-year-old Umyla Hanley on the wing, both options have benefits.
Tomorrow's game at the DW Stadium kicks-off at 6pm. Season ticket holders will be able to watch via the OurLeague app or website but other fans won't be able to watch or buy a pass for the match.
Prop Liam Byrne returns to Wigan’s provisional squad after a one-match ban, replacing young centre Sam Halsall.
Dom Manfredi (hand) and Oliver Gildart (groin), who are also yet to play this year, aren’t in the squad after small setbacks in their recoveries.
Jai Field and Liam Marshall have long-term injuries.
Wigan’s squad: French, Hardaker, Leuluai, Singleton, Powell, Bullock, Isa, Farrell, Bateman, Partington, Smithies, Clubb, Byrne, Smith, Havard, Bibby, Clark, Shorrocks, McDonnell, Hanley, Hastings
Castleford’s squad: Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Trueman, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Blair, Milner, Massey, Griffin, Hepi, Smith, Eden, Turner, Bienek, Martin, Hall