Smith’s simple plan to maintain perfect away record

Matty Smith is tackled by Warrington's Daryl Clark
Matty Smith is tackled by Warrington's Daryl Clark

Matty Smith has emphasised the need for the senior players to step up – and speak up – at Wakefield tomorrow.

Shaun Wane’s heavily-depleted squad is likely to feature four teenagers.

One of them, Nick Gregson, is set to switch from the pack to stand-off and partner scrum-half Matty Smith.

And the England No.7 says a simple game-plan, and help from experienced players, will be important. He said: “Nick is playing out of position and for a lad of his age, it’s tough to do.

“I’ll take the emphasis on getting the boys around, being that voice, and helping him out.

“And senior players around him have to do that. It’s important for all the senior boys to step up and not just perform, but be a voice as well.

“We’ll strip things back a bit and make it easier for the young lads.”

Wigan’s centres tomorrow are both expected to be young – Oliver Gildart and Jack Higginson – and another teen may come in to make his debut.

Wane is missing up to nine frontline players and his preparations were seriously hampered by a virus which spread through the squad.

He planned to pick his team after the final training session today.

But stand-in captain Smith says he is thriving on the responsibility as Wigan aim to maintain their perfect away record this season.

“I like the pressure,” said the 28-year-old.

“ Waney has sat me down and said, ‘You need to grip the game’ and it makes it more enjoyable.”

And he reiterated his coach’s view that the injuries will be no excuse against a resurgent Wakefield chasing their fourth straight win.

Smith said: “We’ve had a few lads off with illness, but we crack on and get on with it.

“We have to find a result. We desperately need a win after the defeat last week.

“It’s always a tough place to go, the crowd is on your back and you need to be really, really up for it. It’s been hard because of the numbers we’ve had at training, but you get on with it.”

Tomorrow’s game is the only scheduled Sunday fixture for the Warriors this season.

“Wakefield are confident, in the short time Chris Chester has been there they’re completing sets high, they’re frustrating teams and they’re getting the wins,” added Smith.

“You know if you go to Wakefield half-hearted, you will be beaten. It’s as simple as that.”