Gale absence a blow? '˜Lockers a bigger loss', says Wane

Sean O'Loughlin will sit-out Sunday's clash against CastlefordSean O'Loughlin will sit-out Sunday's clash against Castleford
Sean O'Loughlin will sit-out Sunday's clash against Castleford
Shaun Wane has down-played the significance of Luke Gale's absence for Castleford - and reckons the loss of Sean O'Loughlin has been a bigger blow.

Influential halfback Gale will miss Sunday’s clash at Wigan and is a major doubt for the rest of the season after emergency appendix surgery in midweek.

His England captain O’Loughlin will also sit out the game with a calf strain.

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When asked in his weekly press conference about Gale’s injury for the league-toppers, Wane reminded reporters of their early-season injury crisis.

He said: “He’s not as big a blow as us losing Lockers, I can assure you.

“That’s one player – try doing it with nine, 10, 11 players out, like we’ve had to. Cas’ have done well with injuries, no question about it.

“They’ve got one out now and it’s big news – just get on with it. I wish I’d only had one player out.”

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Joel Tomkins will return to the side to replace O’Loughlin, who should be fit for the following week’s trip to Wakefield.

Wigan have climbed from eighth to third in the table and have two more rounds to secure their place in the top-four, before the play-off semi-finals.

Wane has been proud of the way his players have hauled themselves up the ladder, with a run of eight wins from their last 10 Super League matches.

“People forget we’ve done it tough, and to get into this position has been a great effort from the players,” he said.

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“We knew we were okay, we knew what we were capable of it, everyone else doubted us and that’s a good motivational factor for us. Last year we had a chronic injury crisis and we had one worse earlier this year – and that’s why we’re playing catch-up now.

“It doesn’t stress me we’re in must-win games – I enjoy the pressure, finding ways of breaking teams down, and getting wins. It’s exciting.”

Wigan will drop a place either way tonight when Hull FC take on Wakefield.

Asked who he wanted to win, Wane replied: “I don’t get into that. I still believe we’ll get what we deserve. If we don’t do enough to beat Cas’ on Sunday, it’s our fault.”

Winger Joe Burgess will also return to the side in place of Liam Marshall.

Wigan’s scheduled reserve game this weekend has been cancelled, at the request of opponents Hull FC.