Shaun Wane has challenged his players to impress on Sunday – or face being squeezed out of the frame.
Wigan’s squad for the game at Wakefield has, to a large extent, been dictated by injuries to key personnel.
But with up to seven senior players expected back within the next two weeks, the competition for places will be drastically increased.
And Wane has shown in the past that current form counts holds more weight than reputation.
Last year, he had no hesitation keeping with teenager Oliver Gildart for their Grand Final assault – and leaving out Anthony Gelling.
Josh Charnley and Matty Bowen also lost their spots to younger, less-established players last season.
And this year, Lee Mossop, Greg Burke and Gildart have missed matches when they have been fit.
With several ‘fringe’ players expected to take on Wakefield on Sunday, they have a golden chance to shine before reinforcements arrive.
Wane said: “Absolutely, this is a great chance for them.
“Everyone wants to play and there are obviously only so many spots.
“We should have players coming back into the side in the next couple of weeks and it’s really simple with me, the best players will play.”
Wane says he may make exceptions for duty of care issues – young academy-products Nick Gregson and Jack Higginson both featured in their last match, a 28-16 loss to Warrington. “If a young player isn’t physically ready to be playing week in, week out I will manage that, I may take them out the firing line,” he added.
But generally, form will be the major factor when he decides who to leave out of his side once reinforcements arrive.
Dom Crosby, John Bateman, Ben Flower, Sean O’Loughlin and suspended Liam Farrell are all close to returning to the mix.