MICHAEL Maguire has rubbished suggestions that Bradford’s crumbling Super League form will gift Wigan an easy passage into the Challenge Cup quarter-finals – and predicted: “I think it will be one hell of a game.”
In recent years the prospect of a Bradford-Wigan Cup clash would be a mouth-watering affair, but the Bulls’ early promise this season has vanished and coach Mick Potter has seen his side crash to six straight league defeats.
By contrast, in-form Wigan have posted five Super League triumphs in succession to climb to joint-top of the ladder and go into tomorrow’s fifth-round Cup tie at Odsal as 1/25 overwhelming favourites.
A Warriors victory would propel them to within 160 minutes from a first appearance at the new Wembley Stadium.
Yet Maguire [left] has urged his players not to look beyond their opponents tomorrow, warning the Bulls are capable of springing a major upset.
The Australian said: “I’m expecting an extremely tough game.
“Bradford have shown a little bit of (poor form) in the last few weeks but it’s a Cup game, and we need to make sure we turn up and perform.
“They have a big pack and halves that want to move the ball around, we’ve got to expect anything at any point in the game.
“In some ways it’s like play-off footy, you go into a game aware that it’s win at all cost.
“I think it will be one hell of a game.”
Maguire is hoping Paul Deacon and George Carmont recover from slight knocks to figure in the game, allowing him to field virtually the same line-up that tore apart Harlequins 54-6 last Friday night.
Paul Prescott’s return from a back problem, possibly for Jack Hughes, may be his only change.
Wigan have posted 154 points in their last three games, conceding just 22 in that time, and will be looking to showcase their attacking prowess in front of the BBC cameras against a side that has leaked an average of 34 points a game this year.
“We started the season a bit slow but we’re hitting some good form and it’s given us confidence,” added Maguire.
Wigan’s home game with Huddersfield – ‘The Big One 3’ – has been switched to Saturday, June 25 (5.45pm) to accommodate Sky TV.
Wigan legend Shaun Edwards has rubbished reports he is set to take over from Michael Maguire as Warriors’ new coach.