SL Preview: Wigan v Bradford (Fri)

Wigan welcome back prop Ben Flower to their squad for the visit of Bradford this Friday.

Welshman Flower underwent an ankle operation after the 36-23 victory at Wakefield at the start of last month and he was expected to be ruled out for upto eight weeks, but is back in contention ahead of schedule.

Also named in the 19 is Epalahame Lauaki, who has missed the last two games, and Andy Powell who made his debut last Friday. Young utility back Ryan Hampshire is also included in the squad after recently making his Wigan debut off the bench at Widnes.

Scrum Half Luke Gale returns to the Bulls squad for Friday night’s game. Gale missed the game against Warrington following the death of his mother and his return is a boost for Francis Cummins who admitted that the Bradford lacked direction without him.

Oliver Roberts has recovered from a knee injury and is also named in the 19-man squad, but Brett Kearney has not recovered from a shoulder injury and misses out. Jamie Langley, Tom Olbison and Jarrod Sammut are also still missing with injuries.

Wigan 19-man squad: Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Goulding, Green, Hampshire, Hansen, Hughes, Lauaki, McIlorum, Powell, Powell, Richards, Smith, Tomkins, Tuson.

Bradford 19-man squad: Donaldson, Roberts, Walker, Sidlow, Gale, Kear, Scruton, Bateman, L’Estrange, Platt, Lulia, Purtell, O’Brien, Manuokafoa, Addy, Foster, Diskin, Blythe, Evans.

Prediction: A return to winning ways for the Warriors.

Stats:

2013 meeting: Bradford 6, Wigan 36 (SLR12, 14/4/13)

Bradford have lost their last five games. Their last win was 28-7 at Salford on 17 May.

Super League summary:

Wigan won 25 (includes wins in 2000, 2007 and 2008 play-offs)

Bradford won 20 (includes wins in 2001 and 2003 Grand Finals & win in 2001 play-offs)

1 draw

Wigan highest score: 60-12 (H, 2011) (also widest margin)

Bradford highest score: 40-8 (H, 2005) (also widest margin)

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