Shaun Wane says Wigan are “pulling out all the stops” to get Sean O’Loughlin and John Bateman ready to face Leeds – after grumbling about the demands of their England trip.
The Test duo even had spells in ‘flotation pods’ – intended to improve recovery – to help them get over Saturday’s Test match in Denver and the following day’s 4,600-mile trip back home.
Wane has included them in his 19-man squad, along with new recruit Joe Greenwood, but will decide whether they play after today’s captain run.
He sounded far from impressed with their schedule with the national side, which culminated in a 36-18 win against New Zealand.
“I don’t know who booked the trip back but they had a long flight and a taxi journey from London, it’s been a mess,” he said.
“What they did over there is different to what we expected. I don’t know why we were so shocked, we come to expect it with the England camp, so we have to make the best of it with the quality staff we have.
“We sent over the GPS (data), showing what we do with our players, how long they train for, how far they run – and they do their own thing.
“We hoped they’d listen but they don’t.
“We’ve taken them to Manchester to a recovery chamber, we’re pulling out all the stops to get them good.”
Liam Farrell also returns from a niggling ankle injury. Dan Sarginson drops out of the mix. Wigan are staging a fans’ village outside the DW Stadium for their first home game in seven weeks – during which time a new hybrid surface has been put down.
A big screen will show most of the first-half of the England-Belgium game, which kicks-off at 7pm, and organisers hope the Red Bull event truck – and stalls and bars – will attract fans to the game.
Second-placed Warriors are looking to get back to winning ways after a nervy 19-18 loss at Castleford. A victory would also leave struggling Leeds vulnerable to slipping into the bottom-four. “It’s nice to be back at home, with a nice field, it’s going to be a good atmosphere,” said Wane.
“I’ve watched Leeds’ games and they’ve not been far off. They had some energy in the Catalans game and would have blown some teams away.”
Wigan’s 19-man squad: John Bateman, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Morgan Escaré, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart, Joe Greenwood, Gabe Hamlin, Willie Isa, Tommy Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Romain Navarette, Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Paisley, Sam Powell, Taulima Tautai, Sam Tomkins, Josh Woods.