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Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 18:00 UK

Wigan to hold play-off in Widnes

Wigan

Wigan will play Friday's Super League elimination play-off against Bradford at Widnes' Stobart Stadium because their JJB Stadium is unavailable.

The JJB is being used on Saturday by Wigan's football team in a Premier League game against Sunderland.

Wigan's acting captain Trent Barrett said that his team-mates were left bemused by the decision.

"There was a bit of disbelief because we didn't even think about it," said the Australian stand-off.

The Warriors will pay for any fans who buy match tickets before 1700 BST on Thursday to travel to Widnes by coach.

"We were disappointed because it's something we've worked pretty hard to get," added Barrett.

"We've come through some pretty rough times this year, so to finish fourth was a good effort.

"But we can't let it affect us. If things fall for us, we might get back there next week."

The Rugby Football League refused to switch the date to ensure fairness towards Wigan's play-off rivals.

An RFL spokesman added: "Given the fixture cannot be staged at the JJB Stadium on the due date, these venues are being pursued in order to minimise disruption to supporters and to ensure that the play-off takes place in a suitable alternative stadium."

Riversiders supporters club chairman Barbara Phillips says Wigan fans do not understand why they cannot play at home.

Phillips told BBC Radio Manchester: "I don't really see when we've moved out of the stadium in the middle of our season so they could relay the pitch at great expense to make it the superb quality it is now why that can't be deemed robust enough to withstand two games in two days.

"People are just absolutely disgusted to be honest. I'm sick for the players because they were absolute heroes on Friday and they really deserve that home game."

Wigan had also considered using Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium, but Phillips did accept Widnes was probably the best choice.

"There's a friendly feeling between the clubs and I know most fans would like to give them a hand up because it would bring them income that they need after their financial troubles last year."

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