Wilkin's ban adds to St Helens woe

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The Independent Online

The champions St Helens will be without four front-line players for their Super League match at home to Harlequins on Friday night, with Jon Wilkin suspended and three others injured.

Wilkin was sent to the sin bin and placed on report for a challenge that left Huddersfield's Chris Thorman concussed in the second half of their match on Sunday. At a disciplinary meeting last night he was found guilty of striking and banned for two matches.

Lee Gilmour was added to Saints' growing injury list, alongside Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Wellens, in the same match with a badly broken nose. "Lee Gilmour won't play on Friday," said his coach, Daniel Anderson. "His nose is smashed. It's a pretty nasty injury but, hopefully, he's back before the World Club Challenge."

Saints play that match on 23 February against the Brisbane Broncos, who are set to bring 15 members of their Grand Final-winning squad to Bolton.

Hull will be without the influential Paul Cooke indefinitely after learning that he has torn knee ligaments. "We have had the result of both scans and have discovered medial ligament damage," said the Hull physiotherapist, Simon Pope. "We can't put a timescale on the length of his absence."

Wigan expect to break the attendance record for a first-round Super League match when they host Warrington on Friday. The record is 17,873 for Paris St-Germain's opening fixture against Sheffield Eagles 11 years ago. Wigan are set to top 20,000. The Australian stand-off Trent Barrett has been named to make his debut after missing Wigan's pre-season friendlies with a hamstring strain.

Oldham are under new ownership. Bill Quinn, a local demolition and excavation contractor, has taken over as chairman, although the former chairman Chris Hamilton is staying on as chief executive.

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