Crosby faces semi-final fitness battle
Prop Dom Crosby is the latest Warrior causing Shaun Wane an injury headache in the run-up to tomorrow's Challenge Cup semi-final.
Wigan travel to Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium to face Super League leaders Hull FC for a place at Wembley on August 27 but, like much of this season, Wane has had to pick his team from a depleted squad.
Seven first-choice stars missed last Friday’s defeat to St Helens through injury or suspension, including Mike McIlorum, Tony Clubb, Liam Farrell, Josh Charnley, Taulima Tautai, Anthony Gelling and Joel Tomkins.
Only Tautai has come back into Wane’s squad for the semi-final – a straight swap for the suspended Frank-Paul Nuuausala. And after leaving the action last week with an arm injury, Crosby – who is named in this week’s initial 19-man squad – is battling to be fit.
“ I’ve lost Frank-Paul because of his disciplinary and Dom Crosby is struggling with his elbow, but we’ll see how he turns out this week,” said the coach.
“He hasn’t trained, but I’m hoping we can get him right for tomorrow’s team run. He could play on Friday.”
Warriors’ Super 8s bid kicks-off following tomorrow’s Cup clash and, with potentially three trophies to play for, Wane is hoping absent stars gradually drip back into contention.
Farrell is expect to have recovered from a rib injury in time for the home clash with Wakefield on August 5, but the likes of Clubb (neck) and McIlorum (ankle) are still weeks away from seeing action.
“Nobody is back yet,” said Wane, at the launch of the Super 8s at Old Trafford.
“Over the next two or three weeks we can start bringing people back, the likes of Anthony Gelling and Liam Farrell, but Clubby is another six weeks off.”
Wane remains confident the injury front won’t block his side’s path to another appearance at Wembley – and he says the team he puts out will be capable of ensuring another Bank Holiday weekend in the capital.
“We need to be good on our detail, we need to be technically good in certain areas against what is a massive Hull side,” he added.
“So there is a fair bit of pressure on us.
“Hull are a big team, particularly their back five who are very big, so we need to be really, really good and challenge them in the collision.”
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad:John Bateman, Joe Bretherton, Dom Crosby, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart, Willie Isa, Dom Manfredi, Lee Mossop, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Kyle Shelford, Jake Shorrocks, Matty Smith, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Lewis Tierney, Sam Tomkins, George Williams.