Championship Preview: Widnes Vikings

Last season: 4th

The Vikings’ close season recruitment has seen them secure the services of several young Super League stars, with Paul Cullen taking advantage of the RFL’s new dual-registration initiative. Shaun Ainscough, Ben Davies and Liam Farrell have arrived from Wigan along with Chris Dean from St. Helens.

James Ford, having spent 2009 with Castleford Tigers, will be hoping he can get back into Super League with the Vikings while young half-back Thomas Coyle will have a point to prove having been released by Wigan two years ago.

James Webster and Anthony Thackeray will, once again, guide the side around the park and look to the likes of Gareth Haggerty and Steve Pickersgill to make the hard yards down the middle and provide them with a platform.

Paul Cullen will no doubt be disappointed with last season, which offered promise at various stages, but a lack of inconsistency meant that the Vikings never really challenged Barrow and Halifax at the top of the table.

But Widnes’ Northern Rail Cup triumph last season has helped build momentum in the club’s push for a Super League place. The players’ job is to ensure that standards on the field remain high as the club prepares for what it hopes will be the step-up to the promised land.

Prediction: 3rd
Key man: Anthony Thackeray

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