FOR the second time in the space of a month, Warrington Wolves are preparing for a visit to the DW Stadium.

Friday's trip to Wigan Warriors is significant for both sides as they look to keep pace with those at the top of Super League ahead of a break for the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

Here, our Wire reporter Matt Turner looks at some key talking points ahead of the Round 19 clash...

Warrington Guardian:

Can Wire build on their positive signs?

Of course, the record books will say Warrington slipped to another defeat against St Helens on Friday night to continue their alarming slump in form.

However, there were sure-fire signs of improvement in terms of performance, which took a clear step forward in comparison to what had gone before.

Indeed, Daryl Powell said post-match that he felt like the game was a turning point in their season as they bid to remain in contention for a trip to Old Trafford in October.

For that to be the case, it is crucial those positive signs are built upon and perhaps more importantly, teamed with a positive result.

The levels of energy and effort the team displayed against Saints should now be a bare minimum and with several players coming back into contention, they look in a much better place to do that.

Warrington Guardian: Wire were edged out by St Helens last time outWire were edged out by St Helens last time out (Image: Mike Boden)

A chance to claw back some ground

This weekend sees the teams within the top six playing against each other – either side of this Friday night clash, St Helens host leaders Catalans on Thursday while Salford welcome Leigh on Sunday.

As such, the table could look very different come the end of the weekend and from a Wire perspective, there is a chance to regain some of the ground they have lost.

They will jump at least one place with victory and depending on how the other games turn out, they could finish Round 19 as high as second.

By the same token, however, defeat could mean they are cut further adrift of the upper placings and put them under more pressure from those below.

Revenge on the mind?

It is less than a month since Wire’s last trip to the DW Stadium, and it is one anyone of a primrose and blue persuasion will want to purge from their memory.

Despite playing against 12 men for 73 minutes following Kaide Ellis’ early red card, Powell’s men succumbed to a 14-12 defeat in the Challenge Cup quarter finals.

Two Super League points are on the line this time, but Warrington will no doubt be looking to show a much better side of themselves this time around.

A game against the neighbours should not need any added motivation, but the notion of gaining revenge should no doubt fan the flames.

Warrington Guardian: Wigan knocked Wire out of the Challenge Cup last monthWigan knocked Wire out of the Challenge Cup last month (Image:

Does Powell stick with youth in the back row?

As previously mentioned, Powell should be able to call upon some reinforcements this week.

At the very least, he will get Sam Kasiano and James Harrison back from their suspensions and there’s also the hope of George Williams returning from a hamstring niggle.

How Powell uses Harrison in particular will be interesting, given he had been playing in the back row in the weeks up to his suspension.

Joe Philbin lined up there against St Helens, but could he turn to Adam Holroyd or Tom Whitehead to fill the role to allow Harrison and Philbin to take up spots in the middle-unit rotation?

Warrington Guardian: Adam Holroyd has featured in the back row during the past two games, starting against Leeds and coming off the bench against St HelensAdam Holroyd has featured in the back row during the past two games, starting against Leeds and coming off the bench against St Helens (Image: Mike Boden)

Could Wigan minds be elsewhere?

As a result of the aforementioned Challenge Cup clash between the two, Wigan have a semi-final date with Hull KR to look forward to next weekend while Wire will be forced to watch on from afar.

There will be the usual pre-match platitudes of minds being squarely on the task at hand but as we had seen so many times in the past, it can be natural for minds to wander.

Matt Peet will have to decide whether or not to give some of his troops a breather before the semi-final showdown at Headingley in order to keep them as fresh as possible.

With a nine-day turnaround to work with, however, that would seem unlikely and the Warriors have their own bouncing back to do having lost in golden point to bottom side Wakefield last time out.

Warrington Guardian: Wigan were beaten by bottom side Wakefield on FridayWigan were beaten by bottom side Wakefield on Friday (Image: