BIRTHDAY boy Pat Richards is backing Wigan’s youngsters to keep their Super League charge on track over the next few weeks.
Lee Mossop became the latest frontline forward to be added to the injury-list after dislocating his shoulder in last Sunday’s win against London.
Paul Prescott, Epa Lauaki and Harrison Hansen are also on the sidelines.
But Richards – 31 today – reckons they have enough strength in reserve to cover for their loss.
Greg Burke, who made his debut this season, and Dom Crosby both figured on Sunday and off-season recruit Scott Taylor is likely to come back into the frame.
Shaun Wane is also expected to recall front-rower Tom Spencer from his loan stint at Leigh.
Richards said: “We’ve got a good culture here now. One goes out, another comes in and he knows exactly what he needs to do.
“We’re a bit short of bodies now, it’s unfortunate for Lee and the other boys who are out, but it gives these guys an oppurtunity to get some games under their belt.
“We’re going to need them. It’s good we’ve got so many younsters we can throw in there. It’s exciting for the future of the club.”
Richards has backed them to try and prove their value to the side, saying those four players – all aged 21 or under – have a chance to cement a regular place.
“I remember I got my chance at Parramatta halfway through the year, and I ended up staying in the side,” he said.
“It’s the same here. We’ve seen the progression of Josh Charnley in the last couple of years.
“Look at Liam Farrell – he’s still a younng man but he has probably been our best player so far this year.
“He has been outstanding. When Gaz Hock left, a lot of people said, ‘you’re going to miss him’. Gaz is a class players, but Faz is a different player who is doing his own thing and he’s effective.
“He’s quite unassuming but he gets his job done – at such a young age he’s mature.
“You never know how they’re going to go until you put the players in there.”
If there’s one drawback to the influx of youngsters, however, it is that highlights that Richards is the oldest player in the squad.
He grinned: “I don’t think 31 is old, but there’s no-one older – it shows what a yong squad we have. It bodes well for the club.”
WIGAN Warriors have received an initial allocation of 1,536 tickets for the fixture against Leeds Rhinos at Headingly on March 15.
They went on sale to existing seasonal members on Monday and remaining tickets will be released to Loyal 18 members today before going on general sale next Monday.
Adult tickets are priced at £20 (£27 seating), over-65s at £13 (£20 seating), students at £13 (£20 seating), under-16s at £12 (£19 seating), ambulant disabled £13 (£20 seating), including free carer if eligible, wheelchair disabled £13 (Carnegie Stand only), including free carer. Under-16s season ticket holders will gain free entry upon production of voucher eight.