SHAUN Wane reckons today’s showdown at Salford will be a “mental” test.
Wigan – buoyed from their derby heroics on Good Friday –are seeking first away win of the year when they travel to the AJ Bell Stadium.
Winger Lewis Tierney is set to make his first appearance of 2015 in a largely-unchanged side to the one which beat St Helens 12-4, to climb to third in the Super League table.
Since Wane joined the first-team set-up in 2010, Wigan have maintained a perfect record over the congested Easter weekend.
Furthermore, they won their last two Easter Monday fixtures by 84-6 and Wane knows exactly what his players will need to do if they are to stretch their impressive run.
“This is a mental test, 100 per cent,” he said. “Every player out there will be sore, everyone will hurting, and it’s about how tough they are mentally to get the job done. That’s what it will come down to.”
Wane quickly switched his focus to the Salford fixture following the derby win - but was well-aware many supporters continued the celebrations over the weekend.
He said: “Those are the type of wins which you need to enjoy. It was a tough, old-fashioned derby.”
Salford - coached by Wane’s former assistant Iestyn Harris – have made strides since back-to-back losses at the start of the year. They have suffered just one defeat in their last six matches, and last Friday claimed an impressive 18-12 win at Huddersfield.
Wane said: “They are a good team. They have a squad which has been hand-picked from around the world.
“Marwan Koukash has backed his coach and given him everything he’s wanted. When you think Michael Dobson and Rangi Chase have been two of the best halves in Super League for the past few years, and they have them both in the same team.
“They’ve got some form over the last month or so.
“But we just need to look after ourselves and turn up with the same desire we showed against St Helens.”
Tierney will come into the side to replace Dom Manfredi, who is rested, while Joel Tomkins is expected to make way for Connor Farrell. Prop Dom Crosby was due to face St Helens but suffered a setback in the build-up.
Wigan’s 19 man squad: Bateman, Bowen, Burgess, Clubb, C Farrell, L Farrell, Gelling, Greenwood, Hampshire, McIlorum, Mossop, Patrick, Sarginson, Smith, Sutton,Tautai, Tierney, L Tomkins, Williams
Salford’s 19 man squad: Caton-Brown, Chase, Dobson, Evalds, Forster, D Griffin, J Griffin, Hansen, Hauraki, Hood, Johnson, Jones-Bishop, Lee, Morley, Paterson, Sa’u, Tasi, Taylor, Walne
Referee: Richard Silverwood