Wane highlights Brough danger
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane knows his side must stop Danny Brough to have the best chance of winning their top-of-the-table clash with Huddersfield Giants.
Stand-off Brough has been the chief inspiration as the Giants have sustained an unexpectedly strong challenge for the Super League crown this season.
The Yorkshire side travel to the DW Stadium holding a one-point lead over the Warriors and the outcome of Friday's eagerly-anticipated encounter could have a major bearing on the destiny of the League Leaders' Shield.
Brough has provided the final pass for 27 tries in Super League this year - second in the competition only to Castleford Tigers's Rangi Chase - and his tactical kicking game has also been highly influential.
Wane said: "We will show a lot of clips of what Huddersfield can do and all the players understand how dangerous they are.
"We have got some good halves in this competition and Danny Brough is one of the best. We need to be alert when he gets the ball because he makes things happen.
"It is the same with (scrum-half) Luke Robinson as well because he is a class player."
Wane is determined to coax a better performance out of his players after being severe in his criticism following last week's laboured win over Hull KR.
He said: "It has been a harsh week. We were nowhere near where we can be.
"But when you consider losing Sean O'Loughlin, Ben Flower, Sam (Tomkins), Paddy (Pat Richards) and Liam Farrell, us not attacking the best we can and still getting a win, against a team that probably played the best they have all year, it was a good hard-fought win for us - although I was still disappointed with the type of errors we came up with."
There is a bigger picture for Wigan than finishing top with the play-offs ahead and the Challenge Cup final in a fortnight.
But the visit of high-flying Huddersfield has captured the imagination and Wane wants to impress on an occasion the club have designated as a 'heritage day celebration'.
The club have spent five years painstakingly researching archives to produce a considerable amount of statistics and designate every player in the club's history a number in a chronological list of when they first represented them.
Wane said: "I would have played my best team this weekend if I could.
"It is a really important game for the fans. It is our heritage week, a big week for us."
Despite that desire to field a strong side, Wane has decided he cannot risk Matty Smith, captain O'Loughlin or Flower due to leg injuries. Tomkins, Richards, Farrell and Gil Dudson will return.
Huddersfield are close to full strength with forwards Jason Chan, Shaun Lunt and Dale Ferguson back in contention.
It is also a big night for the Giants who, despite their consistency, continue to field doubts over their big-game temperament.
Coach Paul Anderson said: "It's now our time to perform on the big stage and I'm confident we'll do just that.
"We have to meet the challenge head on - go there, get our heads down and knuckle down."
Elsewhere champions Leeds Rhinos will hope to further cement a top-four position as they travel to struggling Salford City Reds.
The Rhinos, who have won the title from fifth place in the past two seasons, want to build momentum for the play-offs even though they continue to be hampered by injuries.
Second row Brett Delaney and centre Joel Moon are their latest casualties following last week's hard-fought win at bottom side London Broncos, joining the likes of Danny McGuire and Jamie Jones-Buchanan on the sidelines.
Coach Brian McDermott said: "You do not want to be going into the play-offs asking questions of yourself. We have done that for the last couple of years.
"While there has been a decent story at the end of it we want to do it a bit more straightforward this year.
"Salford is a mental task more than anything, to get our mentality right towards the game, rather than the structure.
"If we get our attitude right towards that game we will go a long way."
St Helens are also building momentum having risen to fifth on the back of three successive wins. They will hope to keep the run going as bottom side London visit Langtree Park.
Coach Nathan Brown said: "It is just good to put some games together back to back.
"We are now finding ways to win in tight situations to get to the next level."