Mitch Clark gets Wigan Warriors "reward"
Mitch Clark will keep his place in the Wigan side on Friday night as a “reward” for his strong form recently.
Forwards Joe Bullock (sickness) and Willie Isa (suspension) are back in the mix for Friday’s visit of Wakefield.
Ordinarily, Clark would seem a likely candidate to slip out the team given he has been a fringe player since arriving at the club ahead of last year.
But the former Castleford prop has caught the eye in his last two matches, scoring tries in both victories against Huddersfield and adding some aggression down the middle.
And he will be given another chance to impress, with Lam confirming: “Mitch has missed out on the majority of the year but the way he has played in the last two weeks, if ever there’s an opportunity to reward him for that, it’s probably this week.
“So Mitch Clark will be in the team somewhere. I’m really happy for him, he certainly brought us another level.”
Clark, 28, has failed to cement a regular spot since joining Wigan but Lam has been impressed with his attitude even when he’s not been in the picture.
“He’s has been brilliant,” said Lam. “He wants to play every week so he’s been frustrated at times but we’ve communicated really well with him about his situation and where he’s at.
“Yes he’s been frustrated and that’s what you want - you don’t want them missing out and being happy about it. He has improved as well so I have to give him credit for that.
“He played a couple of games at Newcastle (on loan) and he needed to do that.
“I’m a big believer if you’re not in our 17, it gives you more chance of doing that if you play somewhere else.
“Look at Amir Bourouh who came back at the weekend and broke the game up for us, because he’s been playing every week at Halifax. Sam Halsall, he’s also played at Newcastle, did well, Umyla Hanley has been with our academy when he’s not been with us - so it does help if they’re playing somewhere else.”
As expected, Jackson Hastings (suspension) and Sam Powell (head injury assessment) also return to Wigan’s squad but prop Liam Byrne (ribs) is still not available.
Over the next two weeks Lam expects to drip-feed Morgan Smithies, John Bateman and Zak Hardaker back into his squad, with Jai Field to follow.
Wigan’s 21-man squad to face Wakefield: Gildart, Marshall, Leuluai, Singleton, Powell, Bullock, Isa, Farrell, Partington, Clubb, Smith, Havard, Bibby, Clark, Shorrocks, Pearce-Paul, Halsall, McDonnell, Hanley, Hastings, O’Neill.