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01 Jul 2017 by TSZ

Wigan Warriors vs Widnes Vikings Preview

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The Lowdown

WIGAN WARRIORS

  • Wigan's draw with Huddersfield last week meant that the Warriors made an unwanted bit of history for their winless streak. Their eighth league game without a win equalled a club record that stretches back to 1903.
  • It's a welcome return to the 19-man squad for Tony Clubb, who is back following having a kidney removed. Anthony Gelling also returns but top-scorer Liam Marshall is rested whilst Joel Tomkins misses out with a groin issue.
  • Wigan's place in the top 8 is far from secure and they must win here to maintain a minimum gap of three points from the chasing pack. They have won five of the last seven home league games when facing Widnes.

Head Coach: Shaun Wane

Squad: John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Liam Farrell, Callum Field, Anthony Gelling, Oliver Gildart, Willie Isa, Thomas Leuluai, Michael Mcilorum, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Powell, Ryan Sutton, Lewis Tierney, Sam Tomkins, Jack Wells, George Williams

Unavailable: Ben Flower (Achilles), Morgan Escaré (Knee), Dom Manfredi (Knee), Jake Shorrocks (Knee), Taulima Tautai (Calf), Joel Tomkins (Groin), Liam Marshall (Rested)

WIDNES VIKINGS

  • Widnes pulled themselves off the bottom of the table with an important win over Leigh last week but still look destined for the Middle 8s. A win here would give them a glimmer of hope but a loss will confirm their fate.
  • Denis Betts must do without the enigmatic Rangi Chase who will serve a suspension. That loss is somewhat countered by the return of long-term absentee Tom Gilmore.
  • Widnes' away form is poor and they've lost their last five in the league on the road. They've also conceded at least 24 points in each of their last seven league matches away from home, further highlighting the task they face.

Head Coach: Denis Betts

Squad: Chris Bridge, Jack Buchanan, Greg Burke, Hep Cahill, Danny Craven, Gil Dudson, Alex Gerrard, Tom Gilmore, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Ryan Ince, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Eamon O'Carroll, Tom Olbison, Charly Runciman, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley

Unavailable: Rangi Chase (Suspended), Patrick Ah Van (Achilles), Tom Armstrong (Injured), MacGraff Leuluai (Injured), Chris Dean (Injured), Rhys Hanbury (Injured), Manase Manuokafoa (Injured), Jay Chapelhow (Injured)

Analysis - what to expect
Based on perceptions of the respective teams at the start of the season, this would have been a game where it was a matter of how many Wigan would win by rather than if they win at all. However, it hasn't quite panned out like that for last season's Grand Final winners, and they're in a position now where they need a win to avoid extending their winless streak to nine games and set another unwanted record. The Vikings will hope to build on last week's win and will go to the DW Stadium with no fear and arguably no pressure, but Wigan should have too much and finally end their winless run.

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