JOHN Bateman reckons Salford’s misfiring stars will be on a mission to prove their credentials tomorrow night.
The Red Devils have won just once since Iestyn Harris left the Warriors to succeed Brian Noble as coach, striking a huge dent in their play-off aspirations.
Owner Dr Marwan Koukash splashed the cash in the off-season to lure big-name players such as Adrian Morley, Rangi Chase, Gareth Hock, Harrison Hansen, Tony Puletua, Francis Meli and Junior Sa’u.
Champions Wigan – fresh from an epic victory against Leeds at the Magic Weekend – will be the big-favourites in front of the Sky Sports cameras tomorrow.
But Bateman reckons a look at their team-sheet is enough to ensure they guard against complacency.
And he reckons their clash gives them the perfect chance to repair some of their battered pride.
He said: “They have plenty of star names – and they will want to prove a point.
“You never know when they’re going to turn up and play, so we have to be alert to that.”
Salford, lingering outside the play-offs sports in 11th position, have still managed to score 24-points in their last two defeats, including Saturday’s loss to Widnes.
“I caught their first half, they throw the ball everywhere,” said Bateman (inset). “They’re a good side when they play.”
The 20-year-old, recruited from Bradford in the off-season, has been asked to step up and play a senior role in a depleted pack missing Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Eddy Pettybourne and Tony Clubb.
“At the start of the year it took me a while to learn my way here, but I’ve settled in and I know how they play now,” he said.
“Now we’ve got to take how we played against Leeds into the Salford game, and kick on.”
Wigan’s players were given yesterday off.
They return to training today for a team run, when Pettybourne will be assessed.
He was not named in the 19-man squad and, surprisingly, injured Jordan James did feature.
But Wane can make changes to his panel on medical grounds.
Wigan’s 19 man squad: Austin, Burke, Burgess, Crosby, Dudson, C.Farrell, Gelling, Goulding, Hampshire, Hughes, James, Manfredi, McIlorum, Powell, Sarginson, Smith, Sutton, Taylor, Williams.
Salford’s 19 man squad: Howarth, Rapira, Eden, Sa’u, Hansen, Platt, Chase, Williams, Gleeson, Hock, Lee, Dixon, Ashurst, Puletua, Tasi, Morley, Meli, Tomkins, Griffin.
Referee is Phil Bentham