Allen wary of Bulldogs bite

Widnes Vikings skipper Dave Allen is acutely aware of the threat posed by Batley Bulldogs as his side prepare for Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup Final at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool (4.00pm).

“We know Batley are a clever side who never give up,” said Allen. “It’s about winning those individual contests around the park throughout the game and keeping silly mistakes down to a bare minimum.

“We saw how good they can be at the Stobart Stadium in May when they beat us 35-16. We were dropping the ball all over the place and missing tackles and they took full advantage with some lethal finishing.

“Indiscipline also handed them a number of cheap penalties which only stretched their lead especially in the first half. We will be made to pay if we repeat that at Bloomfield Road.

“They are a side that effectively combines power down the middle together with speed out wide and they have patience to wait for the time when they can punish you.”

Widnes go into the final on the back of a 27-26 home victory over Dewsbury Rams, a result and a performance which wasn’t an ideal preparation for a big final, according to Allen.

“We wanted a much better performance than that to take to Blackpool and we let ourselves down,” he said.

“Dewsbury worked us hard and I suppose we can take confidence from the fact that we kept battling for 80 minutes and sneaked the victory in the end.

“A win is a win but we will have to up our game on Sunday. I can’t deny that we are all excited by the prospect of the final and the thought of running out in front of thousands of Widnes fans will make me very proud as this is my hometown.

“I was bought up on the game and still remember going to Chemics’ matches at Naughton Park with my dad from the age of eight. It gets into your blood and there will be plenty of family members in Blackpool next Sunday to cheer us on.”

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