Hock to start against Tigers?

Gareth Hock
Gareth Hock

GARETH Hock will be aiming to help propel Wigan top of the ladder tomorrow.

Michael Maguire yesterday revealed the former England forward is back in the frame for the visit of Castleford after Paul Prescott was ruled out through injury.

Prop Prescott suffered a hamstring problem early in the second-half of Friday’s game against Leeds, which Wigan went on to win 26-24.

Hock, who made his eagerly-awaited comeback from a two-year doping ban in the 46-12 demolition of Huddersfield last month, was dropped from the side that beat the Rhinos to make way for Chris Tuson’s return from a one-game ban. The only match-action he has seen in the meantime was a run-out for the 9s team in Whitehaven a week ago.

Maguire said: “We pulled up pretty well from the Leeds game but unfortunately Precky has a slight hamstring strain, he’ll miss the Castleford game and possibly the match at Harlequins this Saturday, but we’ll assess that later in the week.

“Gaz’ll come back in and he’s looking forward to it. He had to sit out last week but now he’s got another chance.” Maguire has no other fresh injury concerns. Those on the long-term list are Amos Roberts, Stuart Fielden and Eamon O’Carroll, who could all be back later this month.

Castleford and Wigan drew 22-22 less than a month ago but have experienced contrasting fortunes since.

Wigan have won their subsequent three matches, while Terry Matterson’s Tigers managed to claim just two points during the same period courtesy of a scrappy 15-8 victory at Salford.

Castleford have lost their last two matches, to Catalan and Warrington, and leaked more than 100 points in the process.

Maguire added: “We’ve taken some strength out of the way we’ve played in the last three weeks.”

Second-placed Wigan will leapfrog Warrington, one point ahead, if they win.

Matterson, a former coaching colleague of Maguire’s at Canberra, yesterday confirmed he will leave Castleford at the end of this year and return to Australia.

Wigan’s 19 man squad: S Tomkins, Goulding, Carmont, Richards, Deacon, Leuluai, McIlorum, Coley, Hansen, J Tomkins, O’Loughlin, Lima, Hoffman, Finch, Mossop, Farrell, Tuson, Charnley, Hock.