Challenge Cup Preview: Wigan v Widnes (Mon)

Wigan

Full-back Sam Tomkins and prop Lee Mossop return to the Warriors squad after both have recovered from injury. Sam’s brother, Logan Tomkins, misses out due to suspension.

Head coach Shaun Wane told BBC Radio Manchester:

“Where you are in the competition and where they are means absolutely nothing, as we found out when we went to Featherstone last year. That was a real tough slog.

“No matter how well you’re playing or who are the favourites, it doesn’t matter. This is knockout football. These are the games I love and the ones I wanted to play and coach in.”

Widnes

Gareth Hock is unavailable for the Vikings as he is on loan from Wigan and ineligible to face his parent club. Centre Cameron Phelps is also missing but half-back Joe Mellor returns after missing last Monday’s Super league loss to Wakefield.

Head coach Denis Betts told BBC Radio Merseyside:

“The hardest thing with this group at the moment is keeping them positive because we can see some wins.

“We’re close in games, we’re scoring enough and we’re making some basic errors. The losses are adding up but we’re going ok.

“Going to the DW this weekend – you’d rather be in the draw than not be in the draw. That’s one of the positives. The tough bit is that we’re going up against the best side in the competition.”

Wigan 19-man squad: Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Flower, Goulding, Burke, Hansen, Hughes, Tuson, Mossop, O’Loughlin, Green, Richards, Smith, Farrell, Gelling, Hampshire, S. Tomkins, McIlorum.

Widnes 19-man squad: Ah Van, K. Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Gerrard, Gore, Hanbury, Isa, Joseph, Kavanagh, Lawton, Leuluai, Marsh, Mellor, O’Carroll, Owens, Phelps, Pickersgill, Winterstein.

Stats:

Wigan have won their last six Challenge Cup games against Widnes, last tasting defeat in the 1984 Final at Wembley (19-6).

Last meeting:

Widnes 32-33 Wigan (Super League Round 18, 07/06/13)

Prediction:

Wigan’s attack will prove too much for the Vikings’ poor defence but it should still be a fiercely contested match. Home win.

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