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Vikings must match Wigan's ruthless intensity
THERE will still be something of an old boys re-union at the DW Stadium on Saturday night even though Vikings’ two high profile ex-Warriors will not playing.
Although strong-running packman Gareth Hock has served his one match suspension for foul and abusive language, under the terms of his season-long loan from Wigan, he is not allowed to play against his parent club.
And the other star signing, ex-Wigan half back Kevin Brown, only has his protective boot removed this week after sustaining ligament damage on his debut against Hull.
But eight Warriors will be returning to their old stamping ground for a game in which coach Denis Betts expects his side to approach with more confidence than they exuded on their last trip to Wigan.
Betts, who along with assistant coach Mick Cassidy was a prominent figure in the legendary 90s Cherry and White machine of the 90s, said: “Going to Wigan and getting a really good performance is key.
“Our main priority is defensively doing the right thing and making sure we stay strong with everybody turning up and giving a great account of themselves, then we have an opportunity of winning the game.
“We went to the DW last year and we had a lot of lads who were awe-struck by being in the stadium itself and at a club of that magnitude.
“But we are not at that stage at the moment. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves through what we did against Bradford – we are pretty confident that we can deliver some kind of performance.”
The ex-Wigan contingent features Joe Mellor, Ben Cross, Jon Clarke, Eamon O’Carroll, Dave Allen, Shaun Briscoe, Ben Kavanagh and Ben Davies.
Betts does not expect those players, nor Hock for that matter, to provide him with any inside track on what the Warriors can do to teams.
“There is nothing going on there that everyone doesn’t know about.
“Wigan don’t play a complicated game or do anything that is extraordinary.
“But what they do is play with a ruthless intensity that is tough to match. And that is what you have to be willing to go after.
“They have got some pretty good players in that, too.”
Vikings expect to have big prop Ben Cross fit to play after he left the field at Catalan with a knee injury.
Hep Cahill missed the trip because his wife was due to have a baby, but will play at Wigan.
But Cameron Phelps, another ex-Wiganer, has not recovered from a knee injury he sustained in the win over Hull.
Vikings beat a below-strength Wigan in the Stobart Stadium meeting last year, but suffered a 54-12 mauling at the return match at the DW Stadium.
The game kicks off at 5.45pm.