Spencer in to ease prop shortage

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TOM Spencer is to be recalled from his loan spell at Leigh to help bolster Wigan’s depleted front-row.

Shaun Wane last night confirmed Spencer will come into his selection plans for Friday’s home clash against Catalans.

He made the decision after Dom Crosby suffered a head knock in Sunday’s exciting 28-22 win at Castleford, placing him in doubt.

Crosby, 22, will need to pass a cognitive test to face the Dragons and, with his front-row department already thin-bare, Wane was left with little choice than to call on Spencer, who has played in five matches for the Centurions.

He said: “Tom’s coming back to us.

“He’s spent a month at Leigh on loan and we’ve watched all of his games.

“They’re well-coached by Paul Rowley and we’ve given him feedback from the footage as well.

“There are areas in his game he needs to work on, but I could say that for every player.”

Academy-product Spencer made his Wigan debut last year and went on to figure three more times.

Wane is certainly lacking some experience in the front-row, with Epa Lauaki yet to figure this year after a leg problem and both Lee Mossop (shoulder) and Paul Prescott (back) suffering early-season injuries.

Prescott was due to undergo an operation today and though a detailed recovery time-frame won’t be known for a few days, he is expected to be sidelined for several weeks.

At 25, Ben Flower was the oldest prop to figure in Sunday’s win in Yorkshire.

“I thought all our forwards played well,” said half-back Matty Smith about the gutsy win.

“They worked hard and laid the foundations for us, and we needed them to because it was a tough win.

“There won’t be many teams go to Castleford this year and get the win.”

Meanwhile, Wane has become the latest Super League coach to criticise Salford for sacking coach Phil Veivers just five games into the new season.

The pair worked closely together at Wigan.

“I was shocked, and disappointed,” said Wane. “Phil’s a mate of mine and I’m gutted for him. I think it’s poor – the way he handled himself while they were going through all of their (financial) problems was exemplary.”

l WIGAN’S six England internationals have retained their place in Steve McNamara’s 30-man elite training squad.

Josh Charnley, Liam Farrell, Mike McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Sean O’Loughlin and Sam Tomkins were all in the panel for last autumn’s international series against France and Wales.

Gareth Hock, now on loan at Widnes, is retained.