Radlinski injury blow to Wigan's top-six ambition

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The Independent Online

Wigan's injury-ravaged season has taken another turn for the worse with the news that Kris Radlinski could be out for six weeks.

Wigan's injury-ravaged season has taken another turn for the worse with the news that Kris Radlinski could be out for six weeks.

The Great Britain full-back and Andy Farrell's successor as Great Britain captain was ruled out of last weekend's defeat by Bradford by a hamstring injury.

Now it seems he could be out until well into June - a severe blow to the club's hopes of reclaiming a place in the top six.

Better news for Wigan is that Brian Carney, the Test winger who has played only one game this season, is fit to return after a knee injury on Friday night against Widnes, who hope to have Owen Craigie back after a bout of mumps.

The Widnes coach, Frank Endacott, is bringing in a sports psychologist to try and rebuild a winning habit at the club, who have just two victories this season.

"We don't have a problem with our fitness," he said. "It's a mental toughness thing and if he only helps one or two players it will be worthwhile."

The Wigan chairman, Maurice Lindsay, has denied that there is any takeover bid on the table for the club or that Wigan Athletic's likely promotion to the Premiership has any implications for the rugby side of the operation at the JJB Stadium.

"We have had no approach from anyone and Wigan Athletic's promotion will make no difference to us," he said.

Paul Sculthorpe, who is expected to be named next week to take over from Farrell as Great Britain captain, could make his return to St Helen's after a back problem against Warrington on Friday night.

"I'm pretty confident he'll play," said the Saints coach, Ian Millward, after naming him in his 20-man squad for the game. "The back is more or less fully healed," said Sculthorpe. "It's a matter of strengthening it up so it doesn't recur."

Leeds have Barrie McDermott and Chris McKenna available after injury for their Friday night match against Huddersfield, who are without their regular full-back, Paul Reilly.

Jason Smith has shown that there is life after Super League by winning back his place in Queensland State of Origin squad. Smith, now 33, returned to the National Rugby League with Canberra this season after three years at Hull.

He is in the 22-man squad for the first of three games against New South Wales on 25 May.

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