Relegation fight takes Endacott back to Wigan

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The Independent Online

Frank Endacott faces his old club today for the first time since Wigan sacked him in 2001.

Frank Endacott faces his old club today for the first time since Wigan sacked him in 2001.

Endacott has been brought in to try to help Widnes avoid relegation and, should they do so, could emerge as their full-time coach next season.

"I've kept in touch with a lot of people at Wigan, but it's just another game for me - although a very important one," said Endacott, whose role at Widnes has involved lifting spirits as much as passing on his technical expertise. "Trying to lift the morale comes naturally to me. I don't like to go around staring at the floor."

Endacott's old side will be without two of their stalwarts this evening, with Terry Newton suspended and Craig Smith resting a recurring knee injury in an attempt to be fit for the play-offs.

"I've only got two props - Craig and Terry O'Connor - and you've got to look after your old horses," said Wigan's acting coach, Denis Betts.

Salford, who play Warrington tomorrow in a bid to make themselves safe from any lingering threat of relegation, have denied that they intend to sign O'Connor for next season. Theirhooker, Malcolm Alker, had a scan on a knee injury yesterday and will miss the Wolves match.

Jim Dymock plays his 100th game - and one of his last - for the London Broncos at home to Wakefield tomorrow. Despite pleas for him to carry on, Dymock has decided to retire and replacing him will be one of Tony Rea's biggest challenges for next season.

The former New Zealand Test captain, Richie Barnett, is unlikely to figure for Hull against Bradford on Monday, but says he is desperate to take the field again before retiring at the end of the season. Barnett has not played since May because of post-viral fatigue syndrome.

Another Kiwi, Joe Vagana, will be back in Bradford's pack after an injury absence.