Super League preview: Wigan Warriors v Bradford Bulls
By Sam Drury. Last Updated: 05/07/13 7:26pm
Luke Gale: Returns after compassionate leave for Bradford at the DW Stadium on Firday
Wigan take on Bradford at the DW Stadium on Friday night as they look for a win to keep them at the top of the Super League table.
The Warriors will be looking to avoid a third straight loss after a shock home defeat in their last outing against Castleford and a 22-12 loss at Warrington before that, meaning their lead at the top is down to just a solitary point.
The visitors are also in poor form. They too lost on home soil last weekend, beaten by third placed Warrington, 26-12.
The defeat leaves them in 10th, three points behind St Helens in the final play-off position, having failed to record a win since the middle of May.
The hosts welcome back prop Ben Flowers following an ankle injury and Epalahame Lauaki also returns after two weeks on the sidelines. There is also room in the 19 for Andy Powell and youngster Ryan Hampshire, both of whom have made their debuts in the past few weeks.
Bulls coach Francis Cummins is boosted by Luke Gale's return to the squad after he missed last weekend's match due to the death of his mother. The scrum-half is expected to provide the direction Cummins felt was lacking against the Wolves.
"It's a tough one but like I said last week, it's an opportunity," he said. "No one expected us to win that game and we lost Luke Gale but we scrambled very well again last week and we worked very hard for each other.
"I was disappointed that we lacked quality when we got at their end but we know we would with what had happened.
"We got stretched early and we lacked direction, which was understandable but you have to take it as an opportunity."
Oliver Roberts also comes back for Bradford but the news is less positive for Brett Kearney, who will be absent having failed to recover from a shoulder injury.
Injured trio Jamie Langley, Tom Olbison and Jarrod Sammut are also still missing.
Wigan squad: Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Goulding, Green, Hampshire, Hansen, Hughes, Lauaki, McIlorum, A Powell, S Powell, Richards, Smith, Tomkins, Tuson
Bradford squad: Donaldson, Roberts, Walker, Sidlow, Gale, Kear, Scruton, Bateman, L'Estrange, Platt, Lulia, Purtell, O'Brien, Manuokafoa, Addy, Foster, Diskin, Blythe and Evans.