Flower out for up to six weeks

Ben Flower
Ben Flower

WIGAN’S injury crisis deepened yesterday after two senior props were definitely ruled out of the Good Friday trip to St Helens.

Ben Flower is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, while Lee Mossop is likely to be out of action for two to three weeks after suffering a recurrence of an ankle problem.

It leave Shaun Wane with just TWO fit front-line props available.

He said: “We’re way down on numbers. Ben’s gutted to be out – he’s been playing really well and was looking forward to playing against Saints.”

The Evening Post revealed yesterday how Wane was facing a selection dilemma ahead of the first derby meeting at Langtree Park, with nine front-line players in doubt.

The Warriors medical team assessed the injured stars yesterday and did not deliver Wane the news he was hoping for.

Pat Richards (thigh), Sean O’Loughlin (knee), Thomas Leuluai (dead leg), Mike McIlorum (hip) and Sam Tomkins (tonsillitis) still remain in doubt and will be assessed later this week.

But Flower and Mossop have already been ruled out with injuries suffered in the 40-20 victory at Salford last Friday.

Welshman Flower has been one of the finds of the season and his absence until mid-May will be a real blow. But of more pressing concern is who will occupy the front-row spots this Friday.

Tongan Epalahame Lauaki has one game of his two-match suspension still to serve.

And 21-year-old prop Tom Spencer – who has figured three times for the first-team already this year – is also unlikely to play because of a sternum problem.

With Stuart Fielden on the long-term casualty list, it leaves Wane with just two fit senior props – Paul Prescott and Kiwi Jeff Lima.

The coach does have two props yet to make their Wigan debuts – Welsh recruit Gil Dudson and academy-product Dom Crosby – in his full-time squad.

Dudson hurt his back playing on dual-registration for South Wales last Sunday but could make his Warriors debut if he recovers in time. Wane’s other options would be switching back-rowers such as Gareth Hock, Chris Tuson or Harrison Hansen to the front-row.