SHAUN Wane has urged Wigan’s young-guns to stake claims for first-team places in the friendly at Barrow.
Michael Maguire will hand his assistant Wane the coaching duties for this Sunday’s match – the second of three pre-season matches.
The champions opened their account with a 30-24 win at Salford last Sunday and the senior players will return on January 30 to face Warrington in Jon Clarke’s testimonial.
But it will be the fringe players who take centre stage at Craven Park this weekend, and former Central Park prop Wane has challenged them to impress against the Championship outfit.
Wane said: “It’s a great opportunity for our young lads to perform, and if they do that they’ll get a chance.
“For lads like Dom Crosby, Sam Powell and Jack Hughes, they should be looking at this game and trying to push for a first-team place.
“We look at the whole package – how they train, their punctuality, their attitude – and of course how they play. A few lads have really ripped in during pre-season training and now they’ve got a game to show what they can do.
“They all know we have a head coach who isn’t afraid to put a young lad in the team if he deserves it.
“Look at Faz (Liam Farrell) – he was in the same spot a year ago but he worked really hard, he earned his chance and he won a Super League Grand Final at the end of the season, and is looking like an England player now.”
Wane expressed his gratitude to Maguire for giving him the coaching reins this week, and reckons the Cumbrian outfit will provide his young charges with a fierce test.
“It’ll be an intense game,” said Wane, who took charge of two first-team games last season after Maguire flew home to Australia when his father died.
“Barrow have a lot of experienced, quality players and our lads will be knocked about, and that’s just what we need to see who handles the pressure well, who steps up.
“It’ll be a real test for our lads and I’m looking forward to it, I can’t wait.”