Here are some of the key head-to-head battles likely to be crucial in deciding The Wire's clash with Wigan Warriors on Friday...

Mike Cooper v Tony Clubb

BOTH players have become cornerstones of their respective packs – and it is up front where this titanic battle is set to be won and lost.

Cooper has picked up where he left off last year by continuing his ultra-consistent form, with his willingness to play long minutes a Godsend in an age of reduced interchanges.

On the other side, the physically imposing Clubb’s impact will have to be negated if The Wire are to come away with two points.

Warrington Guardian:

Blake Austin v George Williams

THIS one could be billed as a marquee battle due to the salary status of both players.

Austin’s start to life in Super League has been promising with glimpses of his quality being shown – what a game this would be to step up and really show what he can do.

By contrast, Williams has endured a difficult start to the year as rumours of a move to the NRL persist, but most of Wigan’s attacking play will come through him.

Warrington Guardian:

Stefan Ratchford v Zak Hardaker

HAVING played in every position other than prop for club or country, the versatile Ratchford has found a home at full-back.

He can always be relied upon as one of The Wire’s most consistent performers and having taken on goal-kicking duties this year, his importance to the team has arguably never been greater.

To say Hardaker’s career off the field has been rocky is an understatement, but he has started his Warriors career intent on making headlines for all the right reasons.

Warrington Guardian:

Daryl Clark v Thomas Leuluai

ANOTHER of The Wire’s most consistent performers, Clark has been benefitting from a step-up in his side’s second-phase game this year.

It has allowed him to be as dangerous as ever from dummy-half as he looks to once again scale the heights that won him the Man of Steel prize in 2014.

His direct opponent on Saturday will be Leuluai, who has spent his career fluctuating between hooker and half-back and is one of the game’s fiercest defenders.

Warrington Guardian:

Josh Charnley v Morgan Escare

GAMES against Wigan will mean more to Charnley than most given his extensive and successful history with the Warriors.

Now wearing the primrose and blue, the flying winger has started 2019 in excellent form and will be as keen as ever to show his old club exactly what they are missing.

With Dom Manfredi and Liam Marshall out injured, French full-back Escare is likely to fill in on the wing for the Warriors.

He showed his defensive capabilities in last year's Grand Final and they will need to be in force again to halt The Wire's top scorer.

Warrington Guardian: