Betts shares team news....

Betts shares team news.... widnesvikings.co.uk
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16th April 2018

The Vikings Media Team caught up with Head Coach, Denis Betts, to discuss the latest team news and his selection plans ahead of Saturday’s Challenge Cup tie against Coventry Bears. 

Denis, the Vikings enter the Challenge Cup this Saturday – have you decided on your team for the game yet?

We still have a couple of training sessions to go before we announce the team on Thursday, so nothing is set in stone yet. The boys know that every place is up for grabs and they need to earn their selection.

At this stage though, I think we’ll be featuring a number of our senior players and be putting a strong team out. A win will give the players confidence and momentum, and this is a good opportunity to put our plays together well ahead of an important Super League tie against Wigan the following week.  I fully expect the likes of Rhys Hanbury, Danny Craven and Matt Whitley to feature.

I also plan to give the established younger lads who have been out of the team in a couple of the recent games, like Danny Walker, a run out too. Owen Farnworth performed well in his home debut against Hull FC, so he’ll be difficult to leave out.

We’re hoping to be boosted with the return of a few players who’ve been on the side-lines in recent weeks. Pat Ah Van has returned to full training and is set to play. Lloyd White has also been performing well in training, so there’s every chance that he will feature.

Obviously, Pat was in fantastic form until he broke his arm, so he’ll be looking to pick up where he let off. This could be a great game for him to get back to competitive action ahead of our next Super League rounds.

Lloyd has been really unlucky this year, and after a few disappointments with injuries is desperate to return to the team. He knows that there’s plenty of competition from Aaron Heremaia, Jordan Johnstone and Danny Walker for that starting hooker position, so he’ll be looking to impress.

Finally, Stanton Albert is in our plans for this game too. It’s taken him some time to settle into the UK, get used to our plays and reach full fitness after missing most of the pre-season, so he’s had to be patient. His experience of going on game-by-game loans to North Wales Crusaders has been useful, and this is the right time for him to make his debut. With Wellington having gone some way to establishing himself in the first team, I’d expect to see a bit of competition from the younger brother, who has been kicking his heels on the sidelines.

Of course, a Cup game like this gives us the chance to rest a few players too. It’s been a hard few weeks for the likes of Joe Mellor and Aaron Heremaia, who’ve really put their bodies on the line and played long-minutes recently. Hopefully a short break will serve them well and they’ll be coming back fresh and full of energy, when we face Wigan Warriors.

Apart from the returns of Pat Ah Van, Danny Craven and Lloyd White, where else are we in terms of injuries?

The Easter period hasn’t been kind to us, and we’ve picked up some difficult long-term injuries in our recent games. Thankfully, it looks like we’ll have a number of senior players back in the coming weeks to strengthen the team.

Against Hull KR, we saw Gil Dudson and Keanan Brand ruled out with long-term injuries. To then follow that up with Chris Dean sustaining a bicep injury and Chris Houston picking a leg injury, ruling both players out for some time, was incredibly frustrating.

Thankfully, Hep Cahill’s rehabilitation has been fantastic, and he could be back within the next two to three weeks. I also expect to see the likes of Stefan Marsh, Wellington Albert and Olly Ashall-Bott returning to the squad soon.

Finally, the Vikings have signed Jimmy Keinhorst on loan. He’s linked up with the team today, and will be with us for the next four weeks. Tell us a bit about his addition to the team….

With recent injuries to the likes of Krisnan Inu, we’ve been a little light when it comes to outside backs. Jimmy is a strong addition to the team, whilst we’re short of numbers. He’s featured in a Grand Final, a Challenge Cup final and in a couple of World Club Challenge games, so he’ll bring real experience and talent to the team.

He’s trained well today and the boys have been excited to welcome him into the squad. I’m grateful to Leeds Rhinos for supporting the loan move and I’m looking forward to seeing him play for the Vikings.

Under 16s can enjoy watching the first-team action for free, when the Vikings take on Coventry Bears in the Fifth Round of the Challenge Cup this Saturday (1.00pm kick off) .

Advance tickets are priced at just £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and U16s are free*.  Tickets will increase by £2 on match day, but Juniors will remain free of charge.

Tickets are available to purchase online (click here), from the Vikings Superstore, Tesco Extra, or by calling the ticket hotline: 0151 495 2250 (option 2).

*Under 16s must be accompanied by paying adults.

Betts shares team news.... widnesvikings.co.uk