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.
First Utility Super League
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield Wildcats22 - 40Wigan Warriors
Fri 24th Apr
Hull FC4 - 24Huddersfield Giants
Leeds Rhinos10 - 29Warrington Wolves
St Helens34 - 16Widnes Vikings
Sat 25th Apr
Catalans Dragons32 - 24Hull K R
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils20 - 22Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield GiantsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC0 - 0Salford Red Devils
St Helens0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan WarriorsvsHull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Salford Red DevilsvsHuddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 21st May
Castleford TigersvsHuddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC0 - 0St Helens
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull K R
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 30th May
Salford Red DevilsvsWidnes Vikings
Hull FCvsHull K R
Leeds RhinosvsWigan Warriors
Sun 31st May
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
St HelensvsWarrington Wolves
Castleford TigersvsWakefield Wildcats
Thu 4th Jun
Widnes VikingsvsHull FC
Fri 5th Jun
St Helens0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sun 7th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wigan Warriors
Hull K R0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 11th Jun
Leeds RhinosvsCastleford Tigers
Fri 12th Jun
St HelensvsWigan Warriors
Sat 13th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsHull FC
Sun 14th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Hull K R0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Thu 18th Jun
Castleford TigersvsSt Helens
Fri 19th Jun
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sat 20th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsWakefield Wildcats
Sun 21st Jun
Hull K R0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Super League 2013, round 21
Wakefield will be without stand-off Paul Sykes for six weeks after he suffered a fractured fibula against Widnes.
Stevo hailed Wakefield's defence after the Wildcats beat Widnes to record a fourth win on the spin.
Wakefield have the Super League play-offs in their sights once more after brushing aside Widnes 24-14.
- Wakefield see off Widnes
- Anderson upset over challenge
- Roby injury concern for Saints
- Sandercock relieved after win
- Brough luck for hurting Hull
- Wildcats v Vikings: Teams
- Laffranchi misses out
- Dragons do just enough
- Wigan hit back to stun Bulls
- Briers wins it for Wolves
- Hull KR v Salford: Teams
- Agar hails real Kirmond bonus
- Wellens eyes Saints momentum
- Dragons v Broncos: Teams
- Wolves v Rhinos: Teams