Tough task for bottom club

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The Independent Online
Workington Town could not have a sterner examination of their prospects of climbing off the foot of the Super League than the visit of Wigan this evening, writes Dave Hadfield.

Their coach, Ross O'Reilly, knew what a challenge he faced when he arrived from Australia this season. "You probably couldn't find a tougher job in the game," he said. "Success for us would be staying up at the end of the season."

An already thin squad has been depleted further this week by the loss of Phil McKenzie and Tony Smith, two fellow Australians.

The experienced McKenzie has had a recurrence of his knee injury, while Smith broke a bone in his wrist in his second match for the club last week.

"It is a blow losing players like that, who could give us some direction, but the spirit here is good and I know that the team that does play will at least have a go," O'Reilly said.

"We can only hope that Wigan may not be totally focused on this game."

Wigan will be without Scott Quinnell and Kelvin Skerrett and possibly Neil Cowie but could welcome back Henry Paul after his ankle ligament problem. On the evidence of their destruction of the other strugglers at Halifax on Wednesday, Wigan's focus is unlikely to desert them sufficiently to give Town a chance.

Paris St-Germain, who play at Bradford tomorrow, are a step closer to signing the former All Black winger, John Kirwan. He is keen to combine playing for the club with a role in developing the code further afield in Europe, including the prospect of a Super League club in Milan.

John Monie, the coach at the Auckland Warriors, has indicated that he would be willing to release Kirwan from the remaining year of his contract.