Johnson steps up into new role with Warriors

Paul Johnson has been given a new role at Wigan
Paul Johnson has been given a new role at Wigan

A GRAND Final-winner with multiple Test caps has been tipped to make a huge impression on Wigan’s squad when they return to training today.

Former Warriors star Paul Johnson has stepped up from his academy role to become head of strength and conditioning for Shaun Wane’s side.

And he will put the players through their paces this week as they begin preparations for 2015.

Wane said: “Paul’s a good asset for us.

“He knows rugby league and he’s completed his studies. He’s not asked for any favours, he’s just worked hard and I hope he will be with us for many, many years.”

Academy-product Johnson had the distinction of scoring the last Wigan try at Central Park in 1999, and enjoyed a glittering career with his hometown club, Bradford, Warrington and Great Britain before hanging up his boots.

He has replaced Mick Turner in the first-team set-up and will work under the leadership of head of performance Mark Bitcon.

“Johnno has been working with our academy players and proved himself to be really good at what he does,” said Bitcon.

“I’m really looking forward to having him on board. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it, its a good learning curve – he knows what it means to play at this club, so he’s starting at a good level.”

All non-internationals will report for training today, the official start of pre-season.

“We’ll be doing skills and fitness – they’ve had a big break so you can’t go really hard in the first week,” added Wane. “But we’ve got two weeks to get some good work into them, before we go to America for a pre-season camp.”

Wigan will travel to Workington on Sunday, February 1 in their final friendly before the new Super League campaign.

Warriors – who have also arranged pre-season matches with St Helens and Leigh – will partner Workington again in 2015, allowing fringe players to gain experience in the Championship.