SHAUN Wane is confident his squad has the strength to cope with Iain Thornley’s season-ending injury.
The coach is unlikely to bolster his pool despite losing the double-winning centre to a torn pectoral.
Dan Sarginson –signed from London in the off-season and given first chance at the left centre role – will get another chance in his favoured position.
Still only 20, Sarginson has been tipped for a bright future and has impressed many with the way he has slotted into the Wigan squad.
Wane has other options, too, most notably Jack Hughes and Anthony Gelling.
With Darrell Goulding pinning down the right centre spot, he is happy with the depth of cover and competition in the three-quarters.
“We’ll be okay, we’ve got blokes there already,” he said.
“We didn’t have Dan Sarginson this time a year ago, and Gells is in the mix as well.
“We’ve got other options, too. Jack Hughes can play in the centres, while John Bateman did a pretty good job when he went there on Good Friday, so we’ll be okay.”
Thornley’s recovery time-frame has been put at six months – which would take him to the week after the Grand Final, should the Warriors go all the way.
The 22-year-old was the club’s joint top tryscorer with nine, before suffering the injury in the early minutes of Good Friday’s thumping 33-14 derby triumph. “I’m gutted for him,” said Wane, who also lost props Ben Flower and Eddy Pettybourne to less-serious injuries.
“I’d challenged him to put a run of good performances together and he was in the grind of doing that.”
Welshman Gil Dudson was yesterday charged with making a Grade B shoulder charge on Bradford player Danny Addy, and faces a likely one-week ban.
With two other front-rowers, Flower and Pettybourne, already ruled out of Sunday’s Challenge Cup home match against Hunslet, teenager Ryan Sutton may hang on to his place in the squad after a strong debut on Monday.
Wane plans to recall his rested No.7 Matty Smith, Lance Todd Trophy winner at Wembley last season, to help guide them into the quarter-finals of the competition.
And Smith hopes his form has not gone unnoticed on the other side of the world.
England Test coach Steve McNamara is assistant boss of NRL side Sydney Roosters.
And Smith said: “My ambition is to play for England and I want to have a big year and hopefully do that.
“There’s not greater honour than playing for your country.
“I’m concentrating on Wigan but the internationals are in the back of my mind. We’re going over to Australia and New Zealand (for the Four Nations) and I want to be on that tour.
“Steve will make his decision at the end of the year but the only thing I can do is do the best I can.”