Super League: Widnes Vikings v Wigan Warriors
Widnes Vikings have the unenviable task of halting the Wigan Warriors juggernaut when the teams meet live on Sky.
Last Updated: 07/06/13 7:54pm
League leaders Wigan come into the game on the back on a 12-match winning run while Widnes, who fought back to draw with Catalan last weekend, have won five of their 16 league outings.
Widnes actually beat Wigan 37-36 on home soil last season, although the Warriors did have a weakened team on show as Shaun Wane used the game to blood some of the club's youngsters.
Wigan will be out to prove they can win without Sam Tomkins. The Warriors have lost each of the six matches Tomkins has missed over the last two seasons, including last season's corresponding fixture.
The England full-back, Super League's leading try scorer this year, will be one of no fewer than nine first-teamers sidelined through injury for the game but Wane will not use the absences as an excuse for a failure to extend their winning run.
"I will expect the 17 that play to be competitive and be able to get the two points," said Wane, who is set to give debuts to teenagers Lewis Tierney and Ryan Hampshire. "I expect a certain level of performance from any side that plays."
Widnes coach Denis Betts welcomes back forward Hep Cahill and winger Patrick Ah Van to his initial 19-man squad, following their return to full fitness from their respective ankle and knee injuries.
Their draw with Catalan Dragons last Sunday enabled them to equal their 12-point tally from their first season back in Super League and, with 10 games left, coach Denis Betts is urging his side to build on this year's progress.
"Sitting where we are on the league table at the moment is pretty pleasing but we know that things can change in an instant," he said. "We've got a tough period of fixtures ahead of us but the boys are up for the challenge.
"We'll certainly be gunning for it against Wigan and looking to put in a decent performance against a side that is littered with star quality throughout."
Widnes Vikings: Ah Van, Allen, Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Dean, Flynn, Hanbury, Isa, Joseph, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Mellor, O'Carroll, Owens, Phelps, Pickersgill, White, Winterstein.
Wigan Warriors: Burke, Charnley, Crosby, Gelling, Goulding, Greenwood, Hampshire, Hansen, Hughes, Lauaki, Mossop, Powell, Spencer, Taylor, Tierney, Thornley, L. Tomkins, Tuson, Williams.