RUGBY LEAGUE fanatic Andrew Day (@AndyDay81) highlights the value for Saturday’s Challenge Cup clash between Warrington and Wigan.
Warrington v Wigan | Saturday 15:00 | BBC1
The Challenge Cup returns this weekend at the quarter-final stage and two of the competitions most successful teams with 28 titles between them, Warrington and Wigan, have been paired together in a mouthwatering tie that will be shown live on BBC.
The Wolves go into this fixture on the back four straight defeats, including last weekend’s 36-16 defeat to Castleford. Those defeats have left Wire 10th in Super League and the Challenge Cup is very much their best hope of any silverware this season.
Wigan are on a worse run of form and are winless in their last six. Last week saw the Cherry & Whites concede 50 points against then rock-bottom Leigh in the shock result of Round 18.
Early season victories have ensured the Warriors remain in the top-eight, however they will need to halt their dramatic slump in form sooner rather than later to have any hope of retaining their Super League champions status.
Both the Wolves and Warriors have suffered heavily with key injuries this season. Last week saw Warrington without eight first-team players and Wigan took to the field minus captain Sean O’Loughlin and nine other regulars.
The hectic May schedule has further added to both sides problems but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, for one team at least! Wigan welcome back six players this weekend including O’Loughlin, marquee player Sam Tomkins and last year’s Man of Steel nominee John Bateman.
These additions make Wigan a very different animal to the side that lost to Leigh last week and unfortunately for Warrington fans, they have no such luck. Captain Chris Hill is suspended and although Ryan Akins, Kev Brown and Kurt Gidley return (the latter two will face late fitness tests), they are still without a plethora of starters.
With the team news in mind, Wigan look value with a -6 handicap at 10/11 (SkyBet) this weekend.
Winger who loves to play Warrington
Amid their raft of absences, Wigan coach Shaun Wane has given several youngsters a chance in the first-team this season and one in particular has shone.
Winger Liam Marshall has scored 18 league tries so far in his debut season, which is bettered only by Castleford’s free-scoring Greg Eden, and that form is likely to keep him in the side despite the returning starts.
Marshall has also taken a liking to playing against the Wire, scoring seven tries in his two games against them in 2017. He’s 10/11 (SkyBet) to dot down again.