Super League: Wigan Warriors vs Warrington Wolves talking points and team news
Last year's Grand Final runners-up aim to end a run of three straight defeats when they face an in-form Warrington team at the DW Stadium on Wednesday night; watch live on Sky Sports Arena from 7.30pm
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 30/06/21 6:52am
We look at what is being said and team news as Wigan Warriors welcome the Warrington Wolves to the DW Stadium for Wednesday's Super League clash, live on Sky Sports...
Lam excited ahead of 'important period'
After making a flying start to the 2021 Super League campaign, Wigan have struggled in recent weeks and come into the clash with Warrington on the back of three straight defeats.
The most recent of those saw them go down 14-6 to Wakefield Trinity last Thursday, albeit missing 10 first-choice players due to a combination of international call-ups, suspension and injury.
Some of those availability issues have at least eased for head coach Adrian Lam as he prepares his team to take on a Wolves outfit who have won their past five Super League matches.
That is followed by the short trip to Totally Wicked Stadium for the derby clash with fierce rivals and reigning champions St Helens on Sunday evening, and Lam expects his side to rise to the occasion for what he sees a crucial few days ahead.
"It's a really important period for us," Lam said. "We haven't been great over the last couple of weeks. We seem to have lost a little bit of confidence.
"I am excited about the big games that are ahead because I think we're due for that. It's time that we stood up as a squad and performed well.
"We do lift to another level when we play in these big games. We've had a bit of success against Warrington in recent times.
"They're playing some great rugby, it will be a great test and I'm looking forward to the response, how we turn up on Wednesday night."
Wolves' cubs coming to the fore
Like Wigan, Warrington had several players involved in last Friday's England-Combined Nations international but emerged victorious in their most recent Super League match as they saw off bottom side Leigh Centurions 44-18.
Those absences saw several of the Wolves' youngsters get an opportunity to impress and head coach Steve Price was particularly pleased with the performance of Ellis Longstaff, while Eribe Doro also crossed for his first try for the club.
Price may be leaving Warrington at the end of the season to return to Australia, but will leave with the future looking bright at the Halliwell Jones Stadium if those youngsters keep progressing, and he may well give some of them another run-out against Wigan.
"I was pleased with the contribution of all 17 players, especially the young blokes," Price said. "The senior players can get a lot of confidence with how they carried themselves and played, so it was really pleasing how they ran around and went about their business.
"Everything just flowed, and the rhythm never changed, which was important from my perspective. One or two of them may get another opportunity."
Although his side are in good form, Price is mindful of the fact Wigan have won their last three games against Warrington and knows they will be eager to turn around their recent losing run.
"They're going to be desperate - as are we, because we want to keep improving and climbing that ladder too," Price said.
"Local derbies are always fierce battles and it will be no different on Wednesday night."
"Wigan are in a tough spot, they're missing some big people, but what you always get from a Wigan side is commitment.
"There will be some young kids playing and their effort can never be questioned, that's why Wigan have been so successful over the years. Effort is non-negotiable at that club and there will be have to be a lot of it if they want to overturn Warrington.
"Warrington have been brilliant - they've proved they can win the big games. Gareth Widdop being out will be a huge blow for them, but they've got a bit of back-up with Stefan Ratchford who'll probably step into the halves."
- Catalans Dragons and former Wigan Warriors full-back Sam Tomkins, who will be appearing on Sky Sports as guest pundit for the match.
Wigan have Liam Farrell and Jackson Hastings back from featuring for England and the Combined Nations All Stars respectively.
However, John Bateman is out with an ankle injury and Zak Hardaker, although free from suspension, has a neck issue. Centre Oliver Gildart returns after missing the defeat at Wakefield through injury.
Warrington have lost half-back Widdop with an ankle injury but back-rower Jason Clark has recovered from a calf problem.
Ratchford, Joe Philbin, Mike Cooper, Daryl Clark and Ben Currie all return from England duty, while youngsters Doro, Longstaff, Josh Thewlis and Connor Wrench keep their places in the 21-man squad after impressing in the win over Leigh.
Wigan Warriors: Oliver Gildart, Liam Marshall, Thomas Leuluai, Sam Powell, Joe Bullock, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Oliver Partington, Morgan Smithies, Liam Byrne, Harry Smith, Ethan Havard, Jake Bibby, Mitch Clark, Joe Shorrocks, Kai Pearce-Paul, James McDonnell, Umlya Hanley, Jackson Hastings, Brad O'Neill.
Warrington Wolves: Sitaleki Akauola, Blake Austin, Rob Butler, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Jason Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Matt Davis, Eribe Doro, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Tom Lineham, Ellis Longstaff, Jake Mamo, Robbie Mulhern, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker, Connor Wrench.