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Challenge Cup preview: Wigan Warriors v Widnes Vikings
- Challenge hopefuls
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Wigan Warriors will be gunning for a third straight win over the Widnes Vikings and a place in the Challenge Cup semi-finals when the pair meet at the DW Stadium on Monday.
The Warriors crushed Denis Betts' team 62-4 at home earlier in the season with Josh Charnley helping himself to four tries, before an under-strength Wigan side edged out the Vikings 33-32 in June.
The good news for the 2012 League Leaders' Shield winners is that star full-back Sam Tomkins is expected to win his battle against an Achilles injury and line up against the Vikings.
Captain Sean O'Loughlin is expected to miss out, although England prop Lee Mossop and centre Darrell Goulding are back for the Super League leaders.
Wigan were upset by the Leeds Rhinos in last year's semi-final at Huddersfield's John Smith's Stadium and Wane knows his troops must be on their game if they are to secure their place in the final four.
"We had 10 or 11 first teamers out that day so we are expecting a very different encounter on Monday, we weren't at our best, but we managed to get a win," Wane told Wigan's official website.
"This is a Cup game so it's what happens in the 80 minutes which is crucially important. On any day any one side can beat another so we have to turn up and play well.
"We will give Widnes the respect they deserve, our preparations have been spot on and we will be getting a couple of players back with Sam and Lee Mossop, so we are in a good position and we are looking forward to the game."
Former Wigan Warriors youngster Eamon O'Carroll is set to make his 100th appearance at club level in Monday night's clash, while on-loan Gareth Hock is prevented from playing against his parent club and will miss out.
Widnes are without former Warriors centre Cameron Phelps but expect to have half-back Joe Mellor back after missing his first match of the season at Wakefield last week and he will be one of six ex-Wigan players in their line-up.
Vikings captain Kevin Brown is one of those six and he is well aware of the task facing Widnes at the DW Stadium.
"There aren't many clubs who have a better cup pedigree than Widnes and it would be great if we could win the Challenge Cup to put in our trophy cabinet," Brown told Widnes' official website.
"The Challenge Cup is really special to me, some of my best career memories are playing in the competition and I'm hoping to add to those this year.
"All the attention is on Wigan, there's no pressure on us as everybody is writing us off. That's good for us as we can go there feeling relaxed and enjoy it, but make no mistake we are going there to win and we will give it our best shot.
"Wigan have been the best team in rugby league for the last few years but the beauty of the Challenge Cup is that it's one game and anything can happen."
Wigan Warriors: Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Flower, Goulding, Burke, Hansen, Hughes, Tuson, Mossop, O'Loughlin, Green, Richards, Smith, Farrell, Gelling, Hampshire, S. Tomkins, McIlorum.
Widnes Vikings: Ah Van, Allen, K. Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Craven, Gerrard, Gore, Hanbury, Isa, Joseph, Kavanagh, Lawton, Leuluai, Marsh, Mellor, O'Carroll, Owens, Winterstein.
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|Tetleys Challenge Cup|
|Sunday 8th June|
|Bradford 10 - 46 Warrington|
|Saturday 7th June|
|Wigan 4 - 16 Castleford|
|Friday 6th June|
|Leeds 25 - 12 Leigh|
|Thursday 5th June|
|Widnes 56 - 6 Keighley|
|Sunday 27th April|
|Castleford 60 - 16 Sheffield|
|Wigan 52 - 8 Hunslet|
|Warrington 68 - 0 Doncaster|
|Salford 20 - 30 Widnes|
|Bradford 33 - 20 Catalan Dragons|
|Leigh 26 - 16 Featherstone|
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