LEE Mossop admits he was surprised – and delighted – when told the DW Stadium would be staging their Challenge Cup quarter-final this weekend.
He and many other players were resigned to facing St Helens at a nearby neutral ground, after the RFL insisted the fixture took place on Saturday afternoon – just 24 hours before Latics’ potentially-vital Premier League game with Wolves – to meet the BBC’s demands.
Eventually, stadium owner Dave Whelan stepped in and allowed Wigan to use the DW, after reassuring the football authorities that the pitch was currently in good condition.
But the RFL was on the receiving end of a stinging attack by Whelan and Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan, who released a statement last Friday to say the potential fixture clash was flagged up last October.
Now the saga has been resolved, the Warriors players are desperate to ensure they make home advantage count.
Prop Mossop said: “I thought we’d have to lose home advantage, I thought we’d have to play it somewhere else, so I’m made up.
“It’s massive for us to be at home, because our fans are fantastic – no-one compares to them.
“Dave Whelan and Ian Lenagan are both Wigan through and through, that was never an issue.
“Personally, I thought the RFL were in the wrong and I’m glad it’s now been sorted out.
“It definitely would have been unfair if we had to take it to another ground.
“But it’s come good now, it’s at home, we’re in front of our own fans and we need to put in a really good performance.”
Team-mate Liam Farrell added: “We wanted to play at home with our fans behind us, but we have the attitude that we’ll play them anywhere, anytime.”
Wigan clung onto top spot over the weekend on points-difference after previous leaders Huddersfield went down 27-20 to Catalan.
But that positive news did not mask the areas of concern with the way they let Hull KR off the hook last Friday night.
After racing in 26 unanswered points in as many minutes, Shaun Wane’s men took the foot off the gas and eventually won by 36-22.
“In the first half we did the little things – run hard, tackle hard – and we let those good habits slip,” admitted Mossop.
“We were cruising towards the end and so we know we need to sort that out.”
Farrell reckons the derby enthusiasm will ensure there is no repeat this Saturday afternoon.
“I think everyone will be thriving off Waney this week, he’ll be more pumped than anyone,” said the second-rower.
“He gets like a bit of a wild fan but in an aggressive kind of way, and it gets everyone else pumped up. He’s a very passionate coach and that drives us through the game.
“Training will be good and I’m sure we’ll take a lot of enthusiasm into the game.
“We slackened off towards the end (against Hull KR) but in the quarter finals of the cup, we’ll not need any more enthusiasm for this.
“We experienced Wembley last year and hopefully we’ll experience it again.”