NRC Preview: Batley v Widnes

Jack Watson (back) remains Karl Harrison’s only injury concern as Batley prepare to start their Northern Rail Cup campaign against holders Widnes.

Harrison said: “Like everybody else this year, our preparations have been weather affected. However, we’ve been fortunate enough to play three friendly games and we’ve come through unscathed.”

He added: “We were disappointed that Whitehaven was called off last week because we trained exceptionally well.

“Widnes throw down a different challenge. They’re a big club with some excellent signings, but it’s never easy for any team to come to Mount Pleasant.”

Widnes assistant coach Stuart Wilkinson insists his side still have room for improvement – despite Tuesday night’s thumping 50-6 victory over Gateshead.

Wilkinson said: “We’re still not where we want to be. There are things that we’ve improved on but there are other things that we need to focus on over the next couple of weeks.”

Vikings are without Thomas Coyle after his appeal against a one-match suspension was unsuccessful on Wednesday night.

On Batley, Wilkinson added: “They’ve had a good preparation and been successful in their friendlies. We know from last year that they’re always well organised, well structured and highly motivated, so it makes for an interesting afternoon on Sunday.”

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