Ben Flower is looking forward to the return of some of Warriors first-choice stars, saying it will make him ‘a better player’.
The prop has been part of Shaun Wane’s squad trying to hold things together while a clutch of players have been missing through injury or suspension.
And with light at the end of the tunnel, the Wales international can’t wait to see a full compliment of players competing for places in the matchday squad, even if it brings challengers to his place in the team.
“It’s always good to have strength in numbers and the problem we’ve had this season is we’ve had no competition regarding people being injured, so you’re playing week-in week-out regardless of of how your performance is,” Flower said.
“When these players come back now there will be more strength in the pack.
“There are going to be people left out because whoever plays the best will play the games.
“But that’s the competition as a player you want, because they make you a better player.”
Forward Frank-Paul Nuuausala will be welcomed back from a one-match ban this weekend while Liam Farrell is a week away from his return from a rib injury.
Long-term absentees Joel Tomkins, who can cover positions in the pack, and Tony Clubb, are still weeks away, while hooker Michael McIlorum is back in training and has a chance of returning before the end of the season.
But despite the disruption in the pack, Flower insists the forwards who have been available have given a good account of themselves.
“We’ve got some senior players in there, we’ve got some young lads in there as well, and they bring a lot of enthusiasm, so we’ve matched and managed every team up front,” he said.
“Whoever we’ve come across it’s been alright. The forwards have been fronting-up real good.
“Our contact is strong and aggressive which is what Waney wants from us.”
With Wigan’s Super 8s campaign against Wakefield kicking off tomorrow, Flower explained experience from last season has taught him to expect a rise in intensity from this point on.
“There’s definitely more pressure on the players and there’s players coming back as well, which is important, pushing for spaces in the team and stuff like that,” he said.
“There’s more riding on it now.”