The right Pryce can guide Wigan to derby win

If Wigan coaches are traditionally judged by how their sides fare against St Helens, then Michael Maguire can ensure continued local popularity for himself this evening.

From the day of his arrival in the town, the Australian heard that old mantra: "It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you beat Saints."

If Wigan do so for the second time this season, they will be eight points clear of their oldest rivals. There will, of course, always be the chance for Saints to salvage the situation in the play-offs, but they will be most unlikely to be able to prevent Wigan finishing ahead of them at the end of the regular season for the first time since 2004.

In front of a 20,000 crowd at the DW Stadium today, the Warriors will be without Sean O'Loughlin, their captain and man of the match when they won 18-10 at Knowsley Road on Good Friday.

O'Loughlin came safely through England's victory over France last Saturday, but strained a quad muscle in the process of scoring an early try at Wakefield the following day.

That obviously calls into question whether it was really such a good idea to try to get a second game in 24 hours out of him, although the Tomkins brothers, Sam and Joel, emerged unscathed and are in today's squad, along with O'Loughlin's replacement, the highly promising Liam Farrell.

The cousin of the legendary Andy has shown up well on his appearances since making his debut earlier this season and he has clearly benefited from a loan spell at Widnes.

The experience and influence of O'Loughlin, however, is difficult to replace and is one reason why Saints might quietly fancy their chances.

They have James Graham and James Roby back from international duty but, despite rumours coming out of their camp, Mick Potter has not named Kyle Eastmond in his 19-man squad. The half-back missed the Test with an ankle injury, but is said to be ahead of schedule in his recovery.

Another intriguing aspect is the way it will bring the Pryce brothers into opposition, with Leon edging back towards his best form at Saints and Karl enjoying a good run of try-scoring on the Wigan left wing.

Saints, and Francis Meli in particular, will aim to put him under more defensive pressure than he has been subjected to in some of his games since securing his place in the team, but the younger Pryce has shown that there is nothing wrong with his close-range finishing.

Elsewhere in Super League today, Hull, who have sneaked almost unnoticed into fourth place, have the opportunity to keep up the good work at Huddersfield. Their closest rivals, Leeds, are at home to Crusaders, who had the disappointing news this week that their accomplished scrum-half, Michael Witt, will miss the rest of the season with knee ligament damage.

Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home