Wane will welcome some ‘awkward’ talks

John Bateman has played only once this year, in the World Club Challenge
John Bateman has played only once this year, in the World Club Challenge
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Shaun Wane is looking forward to some “awkward” conversations as he welcomes some reinforcements back into the fold.

Wane has managed a lengthy and persistent injury-list for most of the season – he had at least 10 frontline players missing in Thursday’s 50-34 defeat at Leigh – and his teams have been dictated by availability to a big extent.

But up to six senior players are set to become available for next week.

Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Farrell, Sam Powell and Anthony Gelling are in the mix for Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final tie at Warrington.

And Sam Tomkins and John Bateman are also in the frame after long injury lay-offs.

Wane says he will welcome the competition for places, as he has only had to drop one senior player this season – Willie Isa in the World Club Challenge.

He said: “I’ve not had any selection (dilemmas).

“I think I’ve only dropped one player this year, with Willie in the World Club Challenge.

“That’s the only awkward conversation I’ve had. It’s a fair call to only have one player to drop in half-a-season.”

Mindful of the fact Tomkins has not played this year and Bateman has only one appearance, Wane has yet to decide whether to make wholesale changes or drip-feed the returning players back into his side.

“It’s up to me to decide how many I put in,” he said.

“They’re not going to fix everything, having not trained that much, but t’ll be good to have some bodies back

“Our young kids are playing busted and they’re under the pump at the minute, so it’s good to have the (options).”

Some of the younger players, such as Josh Ganson, Liam Forsyth and Jack Wells – as well as French forward Romain Navarrete – would appear likely to drop out of the squad.

Asked whether he felt complacency had crept into Wigan’s side because of the lack of competition, Wane added: “I hope not.

“I hope I know them better than that.”

Elsewhere on the injuries front, winger Dom Manfredi (knee) and Tony Clubb (kidney) are expected back later in the campaign but Morgan Escare, Ben Flower and Jake Shorrocks are out for the year.