Widnes Vikings host Shaun Wane’s Wigan at the Select Security Stadium hoping to build on last week’s Challenge Cup win and halt of run of four consecutive league defeats. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash.
Jimmy Keinhorst looks set to make his Vikings debut having been included in the match day 19 for the first time.
Hep Cahill returns from injury, while Patrick Ah Van could play for the first time in the league since breaking his arm on the opening day of the season.
Joe Mellor misses out once again, while Danny Walker, Brad Walker and Stanton Albert also make way from the side which recorded their biggest ever victory last week against League One Coventry Bears.
Widnes 19-man squad: Patrick Ah Van, Greg Burke, Ed Chamberlain, Jay Chapelhow, Ted Chapelhow, Danny Craven, Owen Farnworth, Alex Gerrard, Tom Gilmore, Rhys Hanbury, Ryan Ince, Jordan Johnstone, Jimmy Keinhorst, MacGraff Leuluai, Tom Olbison, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley, Sam Wilde
The Warriors make four changes from the side that overcame Castleford last Friday night.
Tom Davies, Gabe Hamlin, Callum Field and Josh Ganson all come in to replace Ben Flower, Liam Farrell, and both Sam and Joel Tomkins.
The Warriors have won the last four in the league and will be hoping to continue the trend against Denis Betts’ injury-depleted side.
Wigan 19-man squad: John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Morgan Escaré, Callum Field, Josh Ganson, Oliver Gildart, Gabe Hamlin, Willie Isa, Tommy Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Romain Navarrete, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, George Williams
HEAD TO HEAD
Wigan have come out on top in the last three meetings between the sides, including their most recent meetings back in March.
On that occasion, the Warriors battled back from 16-0 after 27 minutes to secure an impressive 32-16 win.
However, Widnes have not beaten Wigan at home since 2014, although they did record two victories at the DW Stadium during the 2016 campaign.
KEY BATTLE- Jordan Johnstone v Tommy Leuluai
Games between these two teams always tend to be close at the DW Stadium, hence why the battle of the hookers could be so important.
Johnstone and Leuluai are at different ends of their respective careers; Widnes’ young starlet recently spent time on loan away at London Broncos and has taken advantage of Lloyd White’s recent injury troubles to cement his spot in the 17 since returning north.
In contrast, Wigan’s experienced stalwart has won World Cups and spent time in both the NRL and Super League. Regardless of age, his tactical nous might be crucial when it comes down to Friday’s clash.
How the 32-year old competes with 20-year old Johnstone could define this contest.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday, April 27
Venue: Select Security Stadium
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