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Preview: Wigan v Huddersfield (Round 3)
Wigan are hoping to avoid their worst start to a season for 21 years after being beaten in the closing stages of both their opening games against the Catalans and Leeds and are looking to get off the mark against Huddersfield at the JJB Stadium.
Coach Ian Millward was delighted with his side?s battling performance against the Rhinos and is refusing to press the panic button.
?If we keep improving at that rate, we will win more than we lose,? said Millward. ?The camp is very buoyant.
?There are 28 rounds in Super League and there are still 26 great performances left in Wigan.?
Huddersfield did the double over the Warriors in 2005 and it was their 26-24 win at the JJB Stadium - their first away victory over Wigan for 48 years - which cost Denis Betts his job as coach, paving the way for Millward to take over.
?Huddersfield have been a bit of a bogey team for Wigan over the years,? admitted Millward.
?Their form is very impressive. They had a good win against Warrington and they suffered a close loss to Leeds. They?ve recruited very well and have a lot of attacking flair.?
Friday?s match marks the return to the JJB Stadium of Wigan-born pair Stephen Wild and Martin Aspinwall, who joined Huddersfield in the close season and scored their first tries for their new club last Sunday.
?Making a first return to a former club can always be an emotional moment,? admitted Aspinwall.
?But Wildy and me have already done that in the pre-season game earlier in the month and, as a result, it won?t seem quite so bad on Friday. Our sole focus will be on the game rather than the occasion.?
Millward has named an unchanged 18, with stand-off Danny Orr hoping for a recall after being surprisingly dropped against Leeds last Friday.
Huddersfield are hoping influential Australian hooker Brad Drew will shake off a leg injury sustained in Sunday?s win over Warrington to enable him to maintain his ever-present record for the club. Paul March will step into his shoes if he fails to make it.
Wigan Warriors v Huddersfield Giants, JJB Stadium, Friday February 24 2006
Wigan 18-man: Ashton, Calderwood, Vaealiki, Richards, Dallas, Orr, Moran, Logan, Higham, Hargreaves, Tickle, Hansen, O?Loughlin, Paleaaesina, Seu Seu, Godwin, Brown, Tomkins.
Huddersfield 18-man: Reilly, Aspinwall, Evans, De Vere, Donlan, Thorman, Paul, Crabtree, Drew, Nero, Snitch, Wild, Jones, Jackson, March, Smith, McDonald, Torrens.
Referee: P Bentham