SHAUN Wane will hand debuts to two of Wigan’s promising youngsters today.
Winger Ryan King and prop Dom Crosby will feature in the Challenge Cup fourth round tie against Crusaders following impressive displays for the Under-20s.
And they will feature in a star-studded side featuring many of Wane’s first-choice stars, as the Warriors take their first steps on the road to defending the trophy they won at Wembley last August.
Wane said: “They’ve both earned their chances.
“They are two Wigan lads who have progressed through the system here and worked extremely hard.
“Dom was very close to the first-team last year but was disrupted by injuries. He’s had an operation and come back really strong – he was outstanding for the U20s last week.
“And Ryan has a lot of pace, I’m sure the fans will love him.”
King, 20, is a former St Pat’s junior who was the top tryscorer for the U20s last term, while Crosby played for both Hindley and St Pat’s in his early years before joining Wigan’s ranks.
There is no place in Wane’s squad for Kiwi Anthony Gelling, who has been left out.
But Liam Farrell returns from injury and Wane’s squad includes a strong panel including the likes of Sam Tomkins, Gareth Hock and Thomas Leuluai.
Crusaders were formed at the end of last season when the decision was taken to withdraw from Super League.
Coached by Wales veteran Clive Griffiths, they are struggling at the bottom of Championship One.
But Wane’s No.2 Iestyn Harris – the former Crusaders coach – is delighted a rugby league presence has continued in Wrexham.
He said: “I am really please because there was a lot of energy from the fans.
“They had money problems in the past, but the fans are great and they’ve got someone to support in north Wales.
“They’re building from the roots, which is important. I know Clive is doing great things down there. I’ve watched their last two games and they’ve got good structure.”
Griffiths played a key role in launching Harris’ professional career two decades ago.
“He was my A team coach at Warrington in ‘92 and he gave me my Wales debut,” said Harris. “It was such a long time ago – it makes me feel old talking about it!”