Wigan forced into emergency centre pairing

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The Independent Online

Wigan have an injury crisis for today's match against Castleford. Their Good Friday mauling by St Helens at Knowsley Road saw them not just thrashed by 24 clear points, but also deprived them of the services of their three front-line centres. Gary Connolly has broken his thumb and Paul Johnson has dislocated his shoulder - both will be out for six weeks - while Steve Renouf suffered concussion, which is also likely to keep him out today.

Dean Bell, in charge until Frank Endacott returns from visiting his sick mother in Christchurch, is likely to play Kris Radlinski and Lee Gilmour in an emergency partnership, with Wes Davies taking Radlinski's regular place at full-back against opponents who beat them three times last season.

With Bradford out of action in preparation for the Challenge Cup final at Murrayfield on Saturday, Saints can go level with them on points at the top of Super League, but only if they win at Warrington this evening. None of the players who missed the triumph over Wigan are likely to be back, but Warrington have problems of their own, with Mark Forster's broken arm triggering a search for a new wing man.

There are also manpower problems building up at the London Broncos. On top of the retirement of Shaun Edwards and a knee injury that will keep Brendan Magnus out for the season, Danny Moore is to return to Australia for personal reasons after today's match against Hull.

John Monie has also released the former Wigan and Hull forward, Steve Barrow, but he has Karle Hammond back from suspension at The Valley today. Glen Air is also due to arrive from Australia next week to try to solve the half-back problem, but that is likely to be the end of Monie's recruitment. "I'm going to have to go with what I've got for this season," he said. "We are starting to build up some support at Charlton and all we need to do is give them a few wins."

Salford are at home to Wakefield, hoping that they can translate their good away form to The Willows.

Graham Mackay will play again for the Leeds Alliance team tomorrow after signing on for the rest of the season. The former New South Wales and Australia winger cannot play at Murrayfield, but could be available for Leeds' two games in the week following the final - the already arranged Friday night fixture at London and the one they have chosen to slot in against Salford the previous Tuesday.

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