Wait is nearly over for Manfredi
Wigan look set to receive another timely-boost as Dom Manfredi closes in on a return.
Shaun Wane last weekend welcomed back six senior players to his side including two – Sam Tomkins and John Bateman – from long-term lay-offs.
Centre Oliver Gildart returned the week.
Prop Tony Clubb is next in line for a comeback – and Wane has revealed Manfredi is not far behind.
The winger could return as early as next month, said Wane.
It would be a welcomed and unexpected return, given the 23-year-old was expected to be out until the Super-8s phase of the season.
Wane said: “Dom’s not far off - two or three weeks, I reckon.
“I’ve not been told that by a physio, but I’ve seen him running and he looks good.
He’s going well - very, very well.
“Hopefully things keep going the same way... but it was a serious injury he had, so I don’t want to start putting concrete times on him (returning).”
Manfredi - affectionately nicknamed ‘Pig’ by his team-mates - suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage during a game against Castleford in August.
But he had done enough up to that point – scoring 15 tries in 25 appearances – to earn a place in the Super League Dreamteam.
His return will dial up competition for wing places.
Joe Burgess and Liam Marshall were on the flanks in the 27-26 win at Warrington, with Lewis Tierney and Tom Davies missing out.
Prop Clubb has an outside chance of returning in Friday’s match at Huddersfield, though the following week’s home game against Widnes is looking a more likely date.
The 30-year-old needed a kidney removed for a condition which was not related to a playing or training injury.
“If he doesn’t play this weekend it’ll be the weekend after,” said Wane. “He’ll be welcome back, he’s a big middle for us.”
Fellow prop Taulima Tautai (calf) remains a doubt for Friday, with young forward Jack Wells on stand-by.
As well as Tomkins and Bateman, Kiwi centre Anthony Gelling returned from an injury lay-off against the Wolves.
Sean O’Loughlin (hamstring), Sam Powell (concussion) and Liam Farrell (ban) had also missed the previous week.
Wane will be without Ben Flower, Morgan Escare and Jake Shorrocks for the rest of the season.