BEN Flower has vowed to repay Wigan - and the club’s loyal fans - when he returns to action this week.
The prop is set to play in Thursday night’s blockbuster against Warrington – his first game since being sent off in last October’s Grand Final.
It’s a challenge I’m ready for. The fans have been really supportive and I can’t thank them enough. Now I’m looking forward to coming backBen Flower
The 27-year-old’s six-month ban runs out tomorrow. He said: “I need to perform and get back to playing as well as I can, and repay my team for the games I missed – and the Grand Final too.
“It’s a challenge I’m ready for. The fans have been really supportive and I can’t thank them enough. Now I’m looking forward to coming back.”
The level of interest in Flower’s high-profile return may be diluted by confirmation Sam Tomkins is returning to the club next season.
The England full-back let slip in a radio interview that he would be “putting a Wigan jersey on” next February. And having previously said he wants his next step confirming quickly, his capture may be announced this week – a move which would take some of the attention away from Flower’s return.
But having spent the early stages of this season out of the spotlight – aside from a television interview in January when he spoke candidly about his moment of madness – the Welsh international knows he will still get more focus than usual.
“It’s going to hype back up a bit and I’m expecting that, and I’m ready for that,” he said. “I know I’m going to get a lot of abuse from some fans who don’t want to see me back playing. But I’m back playing now and looking forward to getting back into it.”
Wigan coach Shaun Wane has already indicated he will thrust Flower straight back into front-line action, rather than ease him back with a stint for partnership club Workington.
For a full, exclusive interview with Flower - don’t miss this week’s Wigan Observer.