Hilton comes home to Wigan

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Rugby League

Mark Hilton's presence in the Warrington pack has been one of the major successes of the Super League season - and on Sunday he is aiming to make a big impact against his home-town club, Wigan.

A first-team player with the Wire for the last four seasons, Hilton has been ever-present and in magnificent form throughout the Super League campaign, but he has never been in a side that have been beaten Wigan.

Now the 21-year-old former Wigan Schools prop believes Warrington are in the best shape they have been in for some time to gain a win against the champions, Wigan, who have climbed back to within one point of the leaders, St Helens.

"Our form has been good," explained the England international Hilton. "At the moment our confidence is high and we believe we're good enough to beat Wigan.

"We're not making any rash promises and we'll have to be on our best form, but that's never been any different against Wigan. They are just one point behind Saints and they will not want to slip further behind again." Hilton added: "I've never been in a winning team against Wigan, but the conditions are now right for that trend to be altered."

The Wire forward has a professional respect for the Wigan team, saying: "I know many of their players and they're a good bunch of lads, but that won't be counting for anything on Sunday.

"I played for Wigan Schools and then at Orrell St James amateur club where I was alongside Wigan's England captain Andy Farrell, so I know what to expect from him."

Warrington will have Gary Chambers back in the other prop position after a rib injury that has forced him to miss the last three games.

Other injury concerns are Iestyn Harris (hamstring), Mark Jones (knee), and Jon Roper (groin). All three are awaiting final clearances to play and are expected to make it through their fitness tests.

Wigan are waiting for centre Va'aiga Tuigamala to return from Auckland after the aborted Oceania Cup competition.

He should have flown in today, but is now expected back tomorrow, while Test winger Martin Offiah (toe) and Welsh international prop Neil Cowie (hamstring), are struggling to regain fitness in time for the Central Park giants.

That could well open the way for senior returns for long-term injury victims, stand-off Nigel Wright and half-back Sean Long, who have been added to the first-team squad for the trip to Wilderspool.

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