Shaun Wane reckons Wigan are the underdogs ahead of Friday’s clash against Hull FC.
The Warriors have won all three of their Super League games so far.
And Wane has never suffered a defeat at the KC Stadium in five outings.
But he reckons their own injury problems – coupled with Hull’s big-spending – have tipped the scales in favour of the home side.
He said: “This is different. They’re a different team, they’ve bought big names, there are a lot of expectations there. I know it never gets mentioned but we’re down six starters.
“We’ve got a lot of kids in against a team of superstars.
“The ex-NRL players they have are unbelievable – big stars, big names, so this is a different challenge. We’ll be confident that if we’re at our best we’ll have a go at them. We’re up against it.”
Hull FC brought in Kiwi internationals Sika Manu and Frank Pritchard in the off-season and have ex-England forward Gareth Ellis back from injury.
“Hull are a confident club and quite rightly so with the impressive signings they’ve made,” added Wane.
“It’s a long season and we’ll be a test for then, they’ll be a test for us. If we click we’ll trouble them.”
Wane’s run of wins at the KC Stadium includes a match in caretaker charge in 2010, when Michael Maguire was in Australia for a bereavement.
Wane does not expect England hooker Michael McIlorum to play again this year.
The 28-year-old has undergone surgery after sustaining a broken and dislocated ankle in the Warriors’ 42-12 World Club Series defeat by Brisbane Broncos last month.
“Micky’s operation went well, the surgeon is really happy,” Wane said. “It will be a long one, I can’t see him playing again this year.”
Confirmation of the extent of McIlorum’s injury is likely to prompt Wane to step up his search for reinforcements, possibly a loan recruit.
Sam Powell is likely to retain the hooking duties for Friday’s visit to Hull.
England winger Josh Charnley is set to return in that game after sitting out the last two with a facial injury.