Qualifiers Preview: Widnes v Warrington

Local rivals Widnes and Warrington face each other for the second successive game as they kick-start The Qualifiers at the Halton Stadium on Friday night.

Both sides were in the Super 8s last season, but while the Vikings were perhaps expected to drop in the bottom four this year, Warrington’s presence is a shock.

They are expected to get through the competition unscathed, though Widnes will be hopeful of a win on their 3G pitch, particularly given they are welcoming back a host of first-teamers, including Rhys Hanbury, Rangi Chase and Lloyd White.

It is the second successive season these two teams have played against each other four times, having already met home and away in the league, and then in the Challenge Cup.

Warrington are currently on a run of eight consecutive wins over Widnes, their last defeat coming in April 2015.

The Wolves make just one change to their team from the last meeting, Dom Crosby coming in for the injured Ben Currie, while Widnes also welcome back Chris Bridge, Danny Craven, Chris Houston, Manase Manuokafoa and Jack Buchanan.

But the Vikings, who have won just five games all year, have lost their last four games.

Widnes: Bridge, Buchanan, Burke, Cahill, Chapelhow, Chase, Craven, Dudson, Hanbury, Houston, Johnstone, Manuokafoa, Marsh, Mellor, Olbison, Runciman, Thompson, White, Whitley

Warrington: Atkins, Brown, Clark, Cooper, Crosby, Dwyer, Hiku, Hill, Hughes, Jullien, King, Lineham, Patton, Philbin, Ratchford, Russell, Savelio, Sims, Smith

Prediction: Widnes are due a win over Warrington but despite their home advantage, the Wolves will come out on top – Warrington by 8.

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