Youngster set to make Wigan Warriors debut this week

Wigan's Brad O'Neill looks on course to make his Super League debut on Thursday night.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 2:01 pm
Brad O'Neill played for Wigan in a pre-season friendly at Salford
Brad O'Neill played for Wigan in a pre-season friendly at Salford

The Warriors have only named an 18-man squad to face Wakefield - as opposed to the usual 21-man panel, two days before the game.

Hooker O'Neill is included and though, obviously, one of the 18 will not make the cut, coach Adrian Lam had already indicated winger Dom Manfredi - who is included in the squad - is unlikely to play as he battles a knee injury.

And so unless Manfredi makes a remarkable recovery, O'Neill may get his chance having been recalled from his loan spell at Championship outfit Widnes. A combative hooker, Lam brought him into the senior squad last year but he injured his knee before he got the chance to make his first-team debut.

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He made nine appearances for Widnes, scoring two tries and averaging 42 tackles per game.

Second row McDonnell has also been recalled after a short spell at York City Knights. The 21-year-old played two games for York before suffering a lower back injury.

Here is the full Wigan squad to travel to West Yorkshire later this week:

James McDonnell - who made his Wigan debut last September - is also included after returning from a spell on loan at York. He has not played in the last two weeks due to a lower back injury.

It remains to be seen whether Mitch Clark may yet be recalled from his loan spell at Newcastle. His move was announced on June 10 and a player must spend a minimum of two weeks on loan before he can be recalled - Wigan's game takes place on Thursday the 24th.

From the squad named, it would appear likely teenager Umyla Hanley would cover full-back with Willie Isa moving to centre again, and Jake Bibby occupying one wing spot. Oliver Gildart and Liam Marshall would play their second game together on the left edge, Harry Smith and Thomas Leuluai will be at halfback with Sam Powell at hooker.

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With John Bateman and Liam Farrell on England duty, Morgan Smithies and possibly Kai Pearce-Paul may take the second-row positions, with the other spots filled by the rest of the squad.

Young centre Sam Halsall was not considered as he prepares for the funeral of his dad. Jackson Hastings is with the All Stars, Zak Hardaker, Tony Clubb and Brad Singleton are suspended and Bevan French and Jai Field are injured.

Wigan's 18-man squad: Dom Manfredi, Oliver Gildart, Liam Marshall, Tommy Leuluai, Sam Powell, Joe Bullock, Willie Isa, Oliver Partington, Morgan Smithies, Liam Byrne, Harry Smith, Ethan Havard, Jake Bibby, Joe Shorrocks, Kai Pearce-Paul, James McDonnell, Umyla Hanley, Brad O'Neill