WHEN Gareth Widdop is ready to make his Warrington Wolves debut, Steve Price admits he could have a problem on his hands.

While he will not be ready for The Wire’s clash with reigning Super League champions St Helens tonight, Thursday, Widdop is nearing a return from the ankle injury that has delayed the start of his season.

With Widdop set to slot in alongside Blake Austin in the halves, the plan was originally for Stefan Ratchford – who has been deputising at scrum-half – to slot back into his regular full-back role.

However, the impressive displays of youngster Matty Ashton in the number one shirt – both in last week’s opening day defeat at Wigan Warriors and the pre-season friendly against Salford Red Devils that preceded it – has complicated matters.

Should Ashton continue to perform well, Price has a big dilemma on his hands.

“It would give me a really good problem,” he said.

“It’s a reflection of how hard Matty’s worked. He’s a good guy and a great listener.

“He’s added around eight kilos to his frame and still hasn’t lost any of his speed.

“It shows there’s pressure on all our players to perform as there’s more depth to our squad now.

“There’s players banging on the door to be in that 17 each and every week, which is a very healthy position to be in.”

The Wire are looking to avoid starting their season with back-to-back losses against a Saints side that got life under new head coach Kristian Woolf off to a flying start last week.

A day after Price’s men fell valiantly at the DW Stadium, Woolf’s new charges put 48 points past last season’s Grand Final opponents Salford to serve notice that they are as strong as ever.

Co-captain Chris Hill serves the first of a three-match ban for his sending-off against the Warriors and is replaced in Price's squad by potential senior debutant Ellis Robson.

Joe Philbin looks set to start in the front row with his bench spot likely to go to either Robson, Luis Johnson or Matt Davis.

Meanwhile, Hill's fellow co-captain Jack Hughes remains absent as he recovers from hernia surgery.

“That Wigan game does seem like a fair while ago and Thursday will be even more difficult,” Price said.

“They are the reigning champions for a reason, they’re very well coached and execute their plays really well but I have a lot of belief in my team as well.

“There’s been a huge amount of work done on our speed development and body composition.

“As a result, I feel like we’re fast and strong across the park.

“Having said that, we’re not getting carried away. We’ve only had one round and there’s a lot of rugby to be played.

“They’re a championship team and have kept their squad together.

“From what I saw against Salford, they’ve tweaked a few things especially with their ground control.

We’re coming home and we want to make the Halliwell Jones our fortress, starting Thursday.”