Double boost for Warriors
Warriors coach Shaun Wane has received a double-boost '“ a week before their next match.
Prop Tony Clubb has been given the green-light to make his long-awaited return to action.
And captain Sean O’Loughlin has recovered from a hamstring injury which has sidelined him for two matches.
Wane confirmed both are likely to be brought back into his squad for their home match against Widnes next Thurday.
Clubb, 29, has not figured in more than three months.
He was in strong form until suffering a neck injury which required surgery.
And it’s hard to over-state O’Loughlin’s value to his hometown club.
Wane said: “It’s going to be great to have those two players coming back in.
“One area we do need to be stronger in is the middles, and Clubby and Lockers will improve us.
“Obviously Clubby has not played in a while but he has been training really hard and I’ve no doubts he’ll be ready to go.”
Third-placed Wigan are just two points behind leaders Hull FC, with four games of the Super 8s to go.
And the return of Clubb and O’Loughlin will intensify competition for places at the perfect time.
Lee Mossop was squeezed out of the frame for the 25-0 derby win against St Helens.
And Wane must now find two other forwards to make way.
Although Joel Tomkins is out for the rest of the year with a knee injury, the Warriors chief has Ben Flower, Dom Crosby, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Willie Isa all competing for spots in the side.
Wane also has the option of dropping livewire Jake Shorrocks – who has figured in seven of the last 10 – and loading his bench with four forwards.
The players trained at their Orrell base yesterday and will today be at Preston’s University of Central Lancashire campus again, before an early weekend break ahead of preparations for next Thursday’s clash.