Wane “gutted” Wigan won’t be able to face Greg Bird this weekend

Wigan appeared to be handed a major boost earlier this week ahead of the trip to Catalans when star Dragons forward Greg Bird was suspended: but Shaun Wane has admitted he’s “gutted” he’s not playing.

Bird will not feature against the reigning Super League champions on Saturday after copping a one-match ban earlier this week following an incident in the win over Leigh.

But Wane admits he is such a fan of the former Australia international, he would rather have seen him play.

He said: “I rate him very highly, he’s a tough competitor. “I’m a bit gutted he’s not playing because when he played in the pre-season friendly against us, it was great for our young kids to play against a legend of the game – we had Jack Wells and Callum Field out there defending against someone like him – it’s good for them.

“He’s a big loss for them.”

Wane will name his 19-man squad for the trip to Perpignan on Thursday – and he admits he loves having such tough decisions to make when it comes to choosing his wingers.

Joe Burgess is all-but assured of a place in the side which leaves one spot open for Lewis Tierney, Tom Davies and Liam Marshall.

And with Dom Manfredi to come back into the mix too, Wane says he loves the competition for places in that particular area of the field.

“Without a doubt, this is the most intense (area for competition for places),” he said.

“I have four talented wingers already and Dom is three or four weeks away – hopefully more three than four – and I look forward to them all being fit.

“I’d love that competition everywhere. I didn’t like it earlier in the year when I had two front-rowers and two on the bench, nobody else behind, and they knew they were playing the week after. I was out of my comfort zone with that and the players knew I didn’t like it.”