Betts believes Widnes can cope with absences

Widnes coach Denis Betts is not unduly worried about the absences of Hep Cahill and Kevin Brown from his squad.

Both players are expected to be out for the next month or so with injury, but Betts insists that there are plenty of others at the club who are despreate to play.

“It’s a tough month for us as well,” he said.

“When you look at the fixtures and the amount of games we’ve got to play, keeping people on their feet was very important.

“It’s a loss to us – a big loss,  but it’s not insurmountable.

“We’ve got some players here who want opportunities.

“Kevin is the captain and the leader of the side, and it’s going to be hard to replace him, but we will.

“Hep’s been influential, and his energy has been fantastic, but he’ll be replaced, that’s the nature of the beast.

“When those opportunities come for those players who are sat behind them, you want them to take them with both hands.”

Betts admits that the Vikings have been fortunate so far when it comes to injuries, which means that plenty of fringe players are now even keener to find some first-team action.

“We’ve spoken about it throughout the start of the year, because we’ve run with a pretty healthy squad, probably up until this week,” he added.

“For the first time ever, we had five or six lads out on dual reg and on loan, playing at the same time as our first team.

“So in total we had all our 25 or 26 top line players all playing on one weekend.

“So they’ve been playing, and they’ve been keen to find out when their opportunity will come.

“It’s come because we’ve got injuries, and they’ve been playing, and I know what they can do.”

With Brown absent for the next few weeks, it looks as though Joe Mellor will captain the side in his absence.

Betts has no concerns about the young half-back stepping up into the skipper’s role.

“He’s one of the leaders of the side,” he explained.

“He works really well with Kevin in that role. He understands where we need to play from in the field, and all the structures that we’ve worked on, both attacking-wise and defensively.

“So it’s a natural progression for Joe.

“But we’ve got a team full of potential leaders.

“With Danny Tickle, Eamonn O’Carroll, Aaron Heremaia, Rhys Hanbury, we’ve got a team that’s got plenty of leaders in it.”

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