O'Loughlin set for return
Captain makes better-than-expected recovery from freak accident
Last Updated: 08/07/08 3:49pm
O'Loughlin: Surprise return
Wigan Warriors could have captain Sean O'Loughlin back in the ranks for Sunday's engage Super League match at Hull KR.
The skipper suffered a freak broken shoulder injury in the 38-14 home win over Warrington in May, leading to fears he could miss most of the rest of the season.
But the 26-year-old Great Britain loose forward resumed full training this week and is hoping to be included by coach Brian Noble on Sunday - the first of eight matches left in the regular season.
O'Loughlin said: "I've got a pretty good chance if all goes well in training. I did a little bit last week and it was all right.
"It will be eight weeks this week but it doesn't feel like I've been out that long. I think that's because we've not had many home games. I've only missed two home games, the rest have been away."
O'Loughlin is not the only one in the Wigan dressing-room to have broken his shoulder.
"George Carmont did it back in Australia but it is an unusual one," he said.
"That's why initially I thought I was going to be out longer. There was a bit of the unknown but it's all gone well.
"I don't really know how I did it. I kind of handed someone off and got my arm in a funny position and felt it slightly pop at the back. It was the tip of my shoulder that snapped.
"I just had to give it time to heal. I had a scan three weeks ago and they said it was all good. It was just a matter of getting the shoulder strong and that's what I've been doing."
O'Loughlin played in all four of Great Britain's matches against France and New Zealand in 2007 and now has time to make a push for a place in England coach Tony Smith's World Cup squad.
"It would be a bonus if I get in the squad at the end of the year," he said.
"I'm just concentrating on trying to get some form for my club. If all goes well, the rest will look after itself.
"I definitely hope I do - I would love to be on the tour - but I'm not really looking too far forward. At the minute I'm just looking to get back to winning ways with the club again."
Wigan have been led by Australian stand-off Trent Barrett in his absence but O'Loughlin is hoping to get the captaincy back from Noble.
If included, he could line up alongside Wigan's new recruit Tim Smith after the Australian half-back finally arrived in the country following lengthy delays due to red tape.