O’Loughlin’s race against the clock

Sean O'Loughlin
Sean O'Loughlin

CAPTAIN Sean O’Loughlin is a doubt for Thursday’s Super League showdown with Warrington.

The 32-year-old didn’t finish training yesterday after complaining of a thigh strain.

It’s nothing serious, hopefully he’ll be good to play

Shaun Wane

Coach Shaun Wane hopes he will recover in time to face the Wolves in front of the Sky Sports cameras, but has put Ryan Sutton on stand-by.

“It’s nothing serious, hopefully he’ll be good to play,” said Wane. England skipper O’Loughlin – who will launch the new-look national kit tonight – is expected to be named in the 19-man squad.

Wigan’s medical team will assess the injury tomorrow during the final training session though, given O’Loughlin’s importance to the side, will be prepared to wait until game-day before making a call.

Kiwi centre Anthony Gelling is in the frame to make his comeback from a hamstring injury.

He will slot into the right centre berth, which will allow England international Joel Tomkins – who has filled the role for the past few weeks – to return to the forwards.

Wane says his squad is looking “fresh and sharp” after a weekend without a game.

Warrington beat Leigh 34-24 in a Challenge Cup thriller on Saturday, and Wane was impressed with what he saw from Tony Smith’s injury-hit squad.

“They got the job done,” he said. “It was always going to be one of those ‘no-win’ games for them, in that if they won comfortably people would have said they were expected to. I thought they played well and, with the injuries they’ve got, the fact they’ve still got a great front-row of Ashton Sims, Daryl Clark and Chris Hill shows just what a strong squad they have.”

Meanwhile, former Man of Steel Pat Richards has been linked with a return to Super League... but with Catalans Dragons.

Australian magazine Rugby League Week reports his current club, Wests Tigers, are unable to make him a competitive offer for 2016 and the 33-year-old is attracting the attention of French side Catalans.

Richards – a highly accomplished goalkicker – has previously left the door open for a possible switch to American Football.

Wigan are not in the market for wingers – they have Dom Manfredi and Josh Charnley on board for next year, while full-back Sam Tomkins is returning – but he has a strong affinity with the club where he spent eight seasons.