Wilkes signing shores up Wigan

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Struggling Wigan will have two newcomers in their depleted ranks at Bradford tonight, following the signing of Oliver Wilkes from Whitehaven.

The back-rower, who played in Super League with Leigh last season, has agreed a contract for the rest of this season and next.

"It's a big blow, but you can't stand in the player's way," said the Whitehaven coach, Dave Rotheram. Like Tim Jonkers, who arrived on loan from Salford earlier this week, Wilkes goes straight into Wigan's squad at Odsal, following four serious team injuries and the illness of Wayne Godwin.

Wigan will go bottom of Super League, at least until Sunday afternoon, if they lose by 10 points or more.

The former Wigan player, John Pendlebury, has rejoined to work with the club's under-18s and under-21s. Pendlebury resigned as coach of Oldham this month.

Bradford will be without their Great Britain scrum-half, Paul Deacon, tonight. He has needed minor facial surgery for an infection in the metal plates that patched up his face after his horrific injury in last season's Tri-Nations.

The Super League leaders, St Helens, have added Ian Hardman to their squad for tonight's game at Hull. He is the likely stand-in for the injured Great Britain full-back, Paul Wellens.