John Kear highlights one Widnes player to watch in 2023

Drew Darbyshire
John Kear Championship squad numbers 2023 SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Widnes coach John Kear has revealed that half-back Tom Gilmore has made a great impression on him upon his return to the Vikings.

Gilmore has returned to his hometown club on a two-year deal following two impressive seasons with Batley.

The 28-year-old came through the ranks at Widnes, playing 58 games between 2012-19.

Kear has been impressed by what he has seen from the experienced Gilmore during pre-season so far.

“He’s made a great impression on me, he really has,” Kear said.

“He’s got silky skills and is also very clever rugby league-wise. You put him alongside other senior players like Jack Owens, who is looking really good and fully clear from injury, and Danny Craven, then our spine is looking A-OK.

“He loves this club and he’s happy to return. He wants the club to achieve, which is what he did in his seasons with Batley.

“He’ll be one of the keys to us doing similarly so.”

Strength in depth pleases John Kear

Widnes have 27 players registered in their first team squad ahead of the 2023 Championship season, featuring nine new signings.

Kear is pleased with the competition for places in his squad going into next season.

“We went for the two-for-one philosophy,” Kear said. “If you’ve got players vying for one spot, it automatically drives standards in training. 

“Everyone is looking over their shoulder, thinking ‘he could step in’. It does make for intense, competitive training, and that’s exactly what we want.”

Widnes get their 2023 Championship season underway with a trip to York on Sunday, February 5. They face Swinton at the Summer Bash on June 27, also in York.

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