SHAUN Wane could be poised to lose right-hand man Paul Deacon.
The former scrum-half has been heavily linked with a cross-code move to Sale Sharks.
Deacon is close friends with Sale’s defence coach and former Bradford team-mate Mike Forshaw.
But a move may surprise some, given the swift progress he has made as a coach in rugby league.
As well as being Wane’s No.2, Deacon is Steve McNamara’s assistant with the England team, and he has previously been described by club chairman Ian Lenagan as a potential long-term successor to Wane.
The ex-Bradford and Great Britain No.7 moved onto Wigan’s staff after two seasons as a player, in which he won the Grand Final in 2010 and the Challenge Cup the following year.
He quickly developed a reputation as a shrewd, smart operator and when Wane’s assistant Iestyn Harris left to join Salford a year ago, he was promoted to the role of lead assistant.
If he does move on to the Aviva Premiership outfit, it will be interesting to see how the club bolster their coaching ranks.
They may look elsewhere but Wigan favour promotions from within.
Wane and his other assistant, highly-rated John Winder, both came through the clubs system.
Elsewhere, former player Paul Johnson (strength and conditioning coach), head of youth Matty Peet, and Under-19s assistant Jordan James have all taken steps up the club’s coaching ladder in recent months.
Captain Sean O’Loughlin has also been assisting the Under-19s and his contract includes a move onto the coaching staff when he hangs up his boots.
But the 32-year-old has recently spoke of his intention to play on for at least another year - maybe longer - and is set to skipper England in the end of season Test series against New Zealand.
Several ex-Wigan players have coaching roles in union, including Forshaw, Andy Farrell, Shaun Edwards, Joe Lydon and Mike Ford.