SHAUN Wane breathed a sigh of relief last night when three of his injured players were cleared to face St Helens – but he still intends to give a debut to teenager Jamie Doran.
Full-back Matty Bowen, winger Josh Charnley and stand-off Sam Powell were all suffering leg problems but made it through the final training session yesterday.
Wane named them in his starting line-up for tonight’s derby, providing they suffered no delayed reaction this morning.
And with forwards Sean O’Loughlin, Gil Dudson, John Bateman and winger Joe Burgess back in the fold he has a strong squad, as the Warriors aim to topple Saints from their perch at the Super League summit.
Wane has still found a place on the bench for Cumbrian Doran to announce himself on the big stage.
He said: “I was relieved when they got through training because we were looking pretty busted earlier this week. The medical department have done a great job.”
Wigan have the chance to dislodge St Helens at the top of the Super League ladder – as well as claim their first ‘double’ of the season, following a 33-14 triumph on Good Friday which ended Saints’ 100 per cent start to the season.
And Wane has emphasised there is much more at stake, particularly for the vast number of homegrown players in his squad. “It’s like a Grand Final, to all the Wigan lads especially,” he said.
“This means everything. Saints are our arch-rivals. There are feeling between both clubs, we have mutual respect but we’re desperate to win.”
Saints were back to their best last Sunday with a 38-16 win over Castleford, with Paul Wellens producing a starring display.
“I put him in the same bracket as Lockers, he’s a player I admire that much,” added Wane.
Kick-off at the DW Stadium is 8pm.
Wigan (provisional): Bowen; Burgess, Sarginson, Gelling, Charnley; Powell, Smith; Flower, Williams, Dudson, Hughes, Bateman, O’Loughlin. Subs: James, Taylor, Crosby, Doran.